Thursday, March 31, 2011
( 11:08 PM ) The Rat
"I WILL NAME HIM GEORGE, AND I WILL HUG HIM AND PET HIM AND SQUEEZE HIM..." The classic "Abominable Snowman" clip is on YouTube! I mean, of course it is, but I totally didn't think to look for it till just now.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 PM
( 11:04 PM ) The Rat
CHINESE BIG SHOE: AUTOMOTIVE EDITION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 PM
( 9:47 PM ) The Rat
RATTY HASN'T POSTED anything about last night's Rheingold, but will content herself with 1) noting that the music and singers were both quite good, and 2) sending you wordlessly over to Google Images and letting you take a wild guess at what I thought of the staging... (And by the way, yes, Loge really does look like Liberace skydiving.)
N.B. The NYT ran an article about the engineering challenges involved in realizing this production, back in the fall.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:47 PM
( 11:12 AM ) The Rat
"AT ONE POINT, DAD PULLED HIS OXYGEN MASK AWAY AND SAID, 'I HOPE YOU'RE ALL REPUBLICANS.'" Michael Reagan remembers the assassination attempt on his father.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:12 AM
( 11:02 AM ) The Rat
THE ART OF "NO," via IKM. A must-read, especially for women in their teens and earlier twenties. Besides, "Will this be a better time than screenwriting/finishing this novel I'm reading/playing CIV/being in a completely silent room full of silence?" made me laugh really hard.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:02 AM
( 10:48 AM ) The Rat
JUNK FOOD WORLD RECORDS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:48 AM
( 9:44 AM ) The Rat
5 GOLF COURSES THAT CAN KILL YOU. Any golfer worth his salt would still play these...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:44 AM
( 9:40 AM ) The Rat
GET SOME RUNNING THERAPY. Interesting.
Dan McGann, a 49-year-old social worker, has long found emotional healing on the road. As a child, he ran to cope with a turbulent home life. As an adult, he has run to overcome depression. In September 2006, after completing his first marathon, McGann decided to put his therapeutic experiences to work by developing a running group for teens diagnosed with depression or anxiety at the Credit Valley Hospital's Child and Family Clinic in Missassauga, Ontario. McGann meets with 14- to 19-year-olds twice a week for 10 weeks to train them for local 5-K and 10-K races. The teens record their prerun and postrun moods, using a scale of one to 10. Most start at two or three. After a run, the scores are up to six, seven, or eight...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:40 AM
( 9:30 AM ) The Rat
If I go for a time without seeing water, I feel like something's slowly draining out of me. It's probably like the feeling a music lover has when, for whatever reason, he's separated from music for a long time. The fact that I was raised near the sea might have something to do with it.
—Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:30 AM
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
( 10:38 AM ) The Rat
"OMAR COMIN', YO!" This just made my day. Via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:38 AM
( 9:59 AM ) The Rat
12 CLASSIC MOVIE MOMENTS MADE POSSIBLE BY ABUSE AND MURDER, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 AM
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
( 9:05 PM ) The Rat
SPERMY THE WHALE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 PM
( 8:42 PM ) The Rat
WORLD'S HIGHEST HOTEL OPENS IN HONG KONG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:42 PM
( 8:15 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:15 PM
( 7:02 PM ) The Rat
CHARITYBUZZ.COM. Learned about this by way of this yummy-looking offering in Cinque Terre (more pics of which, here).
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:02 PM
( 7:00 PM ) The Rat
THE DANCING BOYS OF AFGHANISTAN. Good (but awful) documentary on the bachabaze tradition.
It's after midnight. I'm at a wedding party in a remote village in northern Afghanistan.
There is no sign of the bride or groom, or any women, only men. Some of them are armed, some of them are taking drugs.
Almost everyone's attention is focused on a 15-year-old boy. He's dancing for the crowd in a long and shiny woman's dress, his face covered by a red scarf.
He is wearing fake breasts and bells around his ankles. Someone offers him some US dollars and he grabs them with his teeth.
This is an ancient tradition. People call it bachabaze which literally means "playing with boys"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:00 PM
( 1:09 PM ) The Rat
JEFF KOONS MUST DIE!!!
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:09 PM
( 12:09 PM ) The Rat
TACO BELL PRICE HIKE INCITES 3-HOUR STANDOFF, GUNFIRE WITH TEXAS POLICE. Kind of awesome.
Brian Tillerson, a manager at the Taco Bell/KFC restaurant, told the San Antonio Express-News that the man was angry of the 50 cent inflation after ordering seven burritos from the establishment.
"They did use to be 99 cents, but that was just a promotion," Tillerson told the San Antonio Express News. "He pointed a gun at me, and he fired it"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:09 PM
( 12:04 PM ) The Rat
MPS NOW ALLOWED TO TWEET DURING DEBATES IN COMMONS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM
( 7:54 AM ) The Rat
WHITE WHINE: A COLLECTION OF FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS, via MM. In case you didn't already want to punch most of the people you meet in the face.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:54 AM
( 12:31 AM ) The Rat
TO THE BRAIN, GETTING BURNED, GETTING DUMPED FEEL THE SAME.
In a new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have found that the same brain networks that are activated when you're burned by hot coffee also light up when you think about a lover who has spurned you.
In other words, the brain doesn't appear to firmly distinguish between physical pain and intense emotional pain. Heartache and painful breakups are "more than just metaphors," says Ethan Kross, Ph.D., the lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:31 AM
Monday, March 28, 2011
( 8:48 PM ) The Rat
TODAY, BTW, IS NATIONAL SOMETHING ON A STICK DAY! Though you'd think they'd have put that in the summer.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 PM
( 7:35 PM ) The Rat
"AT ONE POINT, I HEARD PEOPLE LAUGHING AT ME, WHICH, GIVEN MY CONDITION, WAS LIKE LAUGHING AT SOMEONE IN A TRAUMA WARD." Hysterical piece by Robert Sullivan on what it's like to attempt the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile with a bunch of twentysomething elite runners when you're (his words) "an undersize, balding, 42-year-old father of two who hasn't run a timed mile since high school, much less trained for one." There are so many quotable moments in this I'm not even going to try to excerpt more—just read the whole thing, it's not long.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:35 PM
( 7:28 PM ) The Rat
"IF YOU CAME HOME AND FOUND YOUR KID MAKING ONE OF THESE, YOU'D THINK, 'YEP, THAT BOY'S GONNA BE A SERIAL KILLER.'" The Wait Wait crew gets bacon-bombed for this week's Sandwich Monday.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 PM
( 4:20 PM ) The Rat
OVER-SPIRITUALIZING, via Failbook.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:20 PM
( 4:06 PM ) The Rat
LIVE-STREAMING OF CAPRICCIO at 8 PM tonight!
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:06 PM
( 2:19 PM ) The Rat
"ALMOST SILLY, AND YET SOMEHOW COMPELLING." Six-inch heels from Alexander McQueen, via Manolo. But be forewarned: You may develop osteoarthritis just looking at these.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:19 PM
( 1:16 PM ) The Rat
3EANUTS, via SJ.
Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 PM
( 9:40 AM ) The Rat
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR FRIENDS? I love that two of the four items cross-listed under "Reference" are "Passive-aggressive behavior" and "Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder."
Friesen and Kammrath recruited university students to take part in the study. Each student was asked to get a friend to participate in the study with them. Then each of the participants individually filled out an online survey. This included a list of "triggers"—descriptions of behaviors that someone might find annoying. One example was the word "skepticism" which was described as when someone is overly disbelieving of information that he/she receives, when he/she questions things that are generally accepted, or when he/she is very hard to convince of something. The list also included gullibility, social timidity, social boldness, perfectionism, obliviousness and several dozen other possible triggers. For each behavior, each respondent answered a question about how much this triggers them and how much it triggers their friend.
Some people knew their friends' triggers well; others had almost no idea what set their friends off. And that made a difference to the friendship. People who had more knowledge of their friend's if-then profile of triggers had better relationships. They had less conflict with the friend and less frustration with the relationship...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:40 AM
( 9:19 AM ) The Rat
The legend comes to the door of her Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, house barefoot, of course, in shorts and a T-shirt that says "Does Not Play Well With Others" and a picture of Stewie, the cartoon baby from Family Guy. She turned 43 in May. She walks a little bit bowlegged. She has agreed to meet because she has always been agreeable, even when she didn't understand what she was agreeing to. She says she's working on that.
She is finishing her dissertation to obtain her master's degree in counseling. She's also working as an assistant coach for Coastal Carolina University's women's track team, which allows her to travel with the team and compete in open events. The men's head track coach, Jeff Jacobs, coaches her. She says that people who have gone through pain can help others understand and endure pain. She says that long-distance runners are privy to a special relationship with pain and solitude and grace, and "I doubt that sprinters have that."
—"After the Fall," Steve Friedman's astonishing 2009 profile of disgraced South African runner Zola Budd—a tad breathy, as Friedman's prose can tend to be, but still easily my favorite essay thus far in an anthology that's been pretty consistently amazing (and, not coincidentally, the first book I've read in a long time that's made me cry in public)
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:19 AM
( 7:50 AM ) The Rat
SWISS AUCTIONS TEMPTS BUYERS WITH EROTIC WATCHES.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:50 AM
( 7:49 AM ) The Rat
NEW LEAF, via TT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:49 AM
Sunday, March 27, 2011
( 8:10 PM ) The Rat
WILL I LIVE TO BE 80?
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:10 PM
( 3:59 PM ) The Rat
CRASH TEST DUMMIES ARE 'NOT FAT ENOUGH' TO MEASURE UP TO TODAY'S KIDS, ibid. Self magazine ran a fairly horrifying article a few years back on the niche companies offering products and services that have been "supersized" for every stage of life, from cradle to grave.
Oversize children often suffer from asthma, depression, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 (what used to be called adult-onset) diabetes. And a thriving industry is dedicated to serving them. There are dozens of summer camps for overweight and diabetic kids, teddy bears that feature hearts on their arms to mark where they're supposed to inject insulin and overhead ceiling tracks specially configured for lifting obese kids in and out of their hospital bed. Tampa General Hospital has installed four of them in its pediatric wing. "Nurses were getting hernias from lifting these children," says Manon Labreche Short, Tampa General's injury-prevention coordinator. "We had 13-year-olds who weighed 300 pounds."
When she enters her teens, Alexa can shop at Torrid, a clothing store for plus-sized adolescents and twentysomethings. The chain's 77 outlets, in malls nationwide, sell extra-long necklaces, knee-high boots with especially wide calves, size 26 jeans and size 44DD bras and bustiers. "It's a very lucrative, underserved market," says marketing director Christine Thompson, adding that Torrid plans to open another 25 stores next year...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:59 PM
( 3:58 PM ) The Rat
HERE COMES THE BRIDE, ALL DRESSED IN... COSTCO, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:58 PM
( 11:46 AM ) The Rat
ELIE TAHARI MANAGER EXILED TO NEW JERSEY DEMANDS $2 MILLION FOR 'ANGUISH.' I'm telling you, try living in New Jersey before you assume this guy's claims are frivolous...
[Horodecki's] complaints got him exiled to Tahari's in-store boutiques at the Hackensack branches of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's, and at Neiman Marcus in Paramus, he said.
"Mentally, I just started going crazy. I had a breakdown. I was crying to my partner," he said. "Depression set in. I couldn't go to work anymore. I'm presently seeing a psychologist and [I'm] on Zoloft."
The weekly trips to New Jersey weighed heavily on Horodecki.
"Mentally, I was exhausted from everything. It absolutely contributed to my breakdown as time went along," he said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:46 AM
( 3:00 AM ) The Rat
A MIND-BLOWING QUEEN OF SPADES THIS AFTERNOON—alas, the final performance of this run; if I'd known it had such a ridiculous cast (I even liked Karita Mattila's Lisa, and I'd hated with a passion both her Salome  and her Tatiana !) I'd have arranged to attend it at least twice. (Today's Row I seat was provided by my usual
This trip was made largely to fulfill the requirements of my annual Mattei pilgrimage, but I'll go ahead and admit it: Alexey Markov (there's a clip of his "Odnazhdy v Versale"—same opera, different production—here) seemed, even to my untrained ear, by far the technically more proficient singer, damn near stealing the show in the relatively minor role of Tomsky. Vladimir Galouzine was also a magnificent Gherman—the principals were all astounding in this thing; JN, who's forgotten more about opera than I'll ever know, didn't hesitate to pronounce this one of the best performances he's seen in his life (he's in his late 40s and has, so far as I can tell, always adored opera). If I tend to pay disproportionate attention to the baritones it's just because, well, I'm into baritones.
Anyway, while Mattei wasn't really what I was looking at in today's performance, the pilgrimages will assuredly continue: I've never claimed his was the most flawless or best-trained baritone voice I've heard live—just the most sensual one. I can imagine better Yeletskys and better Giovannis (though I frankly can't imagine a better Almaviva), but in certain kinds of arias, that voice* just kind of... reaches out from the stage and unbuttons your blouse. You know, in a good way.
*Hilarious viewer comment, by "urzulaz," on this clip (and yeah, this is a big part of why Mattei's Giovanni doesn't work for me either): "Great singer, but how to believe that he is a Don Giovanni? He is just an opposite, a positive and gentle guy, no vice in appearance and voice. It does not work for me, can't believe this Don Giovanni will seduce and leave a woman, he will marry her and have ten kids, lol!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:00 AM
( 2:55 AM ) The Rat
I sit at a café in the village and gulp down cold Amstel beer. It tastes fantastic, but not nearly as great as the beer I'd been imagining as I ran. Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.
—Haruki Murakami of his first experience of running approx. 26 miles (by tracing, in reverse, Pheidippides's course—from Athens to Marathon), What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:55 AM
Saturday, March 26, 2011
( 12:59 AM ) The Rat
"WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN PERSONAL ANDES." For the final week of The Interview, the BBC is re-running Carrie Gracie's extraordinary 2006 interview with Nando Parrado. His book, Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, is here, and if it's anything like the interview I'm expecting it to be pretty damn good.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 AM
Friday, March 25, 2011
( 10:57 PM ) The Rat
ROYAL WEDDING DONUT!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:57 PM
( 5:58 PM ) The Rat
CHEATING, INCORPORATED. "Oranges"?! (This and the last link are both via Arts & Letters Daily.)
What Ashley Madison does is legal. It's also illicit, in that it helps users violate their marriage vows and engage in deception and secrecy. This presents enormous branding challenges as well as financial ones: How many fund managers want to go home to their wives and announce, "Honey, I found the perfect investment opportunity!" Some of Avid Life's employees don't publicly admit where they work for fear of jeopardizing their spouses' jobs, provoking family disapproval, or seeing their houses pelted with oranges; Biderman says he sometimes worries about his security. All of this puts him in a unique position: He is running a budding empire built on an activity that most people would say is wrong. Is that the easiest thing in the world or the most difficult?
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:58 PM
( 5:50 PM ) The Rat
THE POWER OF LONELY.
You hear it all the time: We humans are social animals. We need to spend time together to be happy and functional, and we extract a vast array of benefits from maintaining intimate relationships and associating with groups. Collaborating on projects at work makes us smarter and more creative. Hanging out with friends makes us more emotionally mature and better able to deal with grief and stress.
Spending time alone, by contrast, can look a little suspect. In a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration, those who prefer solitude and private noodling are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.
But an emerging body of research is suggesting that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us—that certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life—that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we're spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone.
One ongoing Harvard study indicates that people form more lasting and accurate memories if they believe they're experiencing something alone. Another indicates that a certain amount of solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others. And while no one would dispute that too much isolation early in life can be unhealthy, a certain amount of solitude has been shown to help teenagers improve their moods and earn good grades in school...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:50 PM
( 2:09 PM ) The Rat
PASSIVE-AGGRESSION: A DISH BEST SERVED COLD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:09 PM
( 11:59 AM ) The Rat
THE COUNTRY MOUSE GOES TO TOWN, via Manolo.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM
( 11:40 AM ) The Rat
ANATOMY OF A CUPCAKE, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:40 AM
( 9:52 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:52 AM
( 9:46 AM ) The Rat
"JUNK FOOD" MOMS HAVE "JUNK FOOD" BABIES. Does this mean my mother ate an entire candy factory while pregnant with one of my brothers, but not while pregnant with me or with my other brother? There are also new findings on obesity and participation in religious activities.
Also, your joke here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:46 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2011
( 2:00 PM ) The Rat
LIVE-STREAMING OF THE OPENING NIGHT OF LE COMTE ORY begins at 8 PM!
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:00 PM
( 10:47 AM ) The Rat
GEMISCHTES. Alternatively, they could just top up a Camelbak with olive oil. I also like johannes81's comment: "Anyway, sounds utterly disgusting, mixing salmon, fruit, yogurt, sugar etc. Alas, pregnant or ultra-running, sometimes it's gotta be weird."
One of the most daunting tasks during Dean's journey is ensuring that he's properly nourished. This means consuming enough calories and other nutrients and vitamins to keep healthy. During the course of running 40 to 50 miles a day, Dean will need to consume an average of approximately 8,000 calories per day, every single day. What makes this all the more difficult is the fact that 60 to 75 percent of these calories need to be consumed while running...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 AM
( 10:05 AM ) The Rat
10 ANIMALS YOU WON'T BELIEVE ARE CLOSELY RELATED, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:05 AM
( 9:53 AM ) The Rat
"MY 'VICTIM' APPEARED TO BE A BETA MALE..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:53 AM
( 9:23 AM ) The Rat
A TAXONOMY OF CITY BLOCKS, via Strange Maps.
In an urbanist twist to the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, Polo the Venetian regales Khan the Mongolian with glimpses of some fabulous cities in the latter's huge empire. The stories, collected in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, oscillate between truth and fiction. Each of Polo's cities displays one unique, defining feature. But these different cities may be nothing more than extrapolated miniatures of the homesick Venetian's hometown.
Imagined cities built from the fragments of real ones: something similar is happening in Tout bien rangé, a cartography-based artwork by French artist Armelle Caron. It consists of a series of map pairs, one a blind, but recognisably real city map, the other what looks like an assembly kit for that same city, with the its blocks impracticably but neatly arranged by shape and size...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:23 AM
( 9:20 AM ) The Rat
"MY CHARACTER IS NOT WHY I HAVE SURVIVED." Via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:20 AM
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
( 8:32 PM ) The Rat
PROBLEMS, via Failbook. Ludacris: A Classic Analysis is also fun.
And "Dan"'s comments near the top of this are awesome.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:32 PM
( 7:41 PM ) The Rat
LOVING THIS JUXTAPOSITION OF PARAGRAPHS (from the Wiki article on flow):
Historical sources hint that Michelangelo may have painted the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel while in a flow state. It is reported that he painted for days at a time, and he was so absorbed in his work that he did not stop for food or sleep until he reached the point of passing out. He would wake up refreshed and, upon starting to paint again, re-entered a state of complete absorption.
Bruce Lee also spoke of a psychological state similar to flow in his book the Tao of Jeet Kune Do.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:41 PM
( 10:27 AM ) The Rat
FROM "TEAM HOYT STARTS AGAIN," a 2006 article on the father-son duo who will be running their 29th Boston Marathon next month (Rick, now 49, has been paralyzed since birth with cerebral palsy; his father, Dick, pushes him in a wheelchair):
Letters appear on a small screen at Rick's eye level. He twitches his head to move the cursor through the letters, double-twitching when he wants to select one. Each twitch requires a concentrated effort. As he works, his arm waves spasmodically, occasionally getting caught in the computer wires.
He is asked, "Do you ever have a bad race?"
Rick considers for several moments, then sets to work. He scans down the letters, each twitch of his head accompanied by a small electronic beep, like a bird chirping. Y, he types. Then, three minutes later, E, and, after a similar interval, S.
The next question comes, but Rick isn't finished with the first one. W... three minutes... H... three minutes... E... three minutes, and so on for a half hour. Rick communicates no sense of frustration or impatience. "Yes, when the weather is too cold..." finally appears on the screen. The reply is read aloud, but Rick still isn't finished. The twitches and chirps continue. And then the full reply sounds through the voice synthesizer. "Yes," the disembodied electronic voice says after several more long minutes, "when the weather is too cold and the women are too covered up."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 AM
( 10:13 AM ) The Rat
SECRET FEARS OF THE SUPER-RICH, via WC. More on the hedonic treadmill here and here.
The respondents turn out to be a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties involving love, work, and family. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess. (Remember: this is a population with assets in the tens of millions of dollars and above.) One respondent, the heir to an enormous fortune, says that what matters most to him is his Christianity, and that his greatest aspiration is "to love the Lord, my family, and my friends." He also reports that he wouldn't feel financially secure until he had $1 billion in the bank.
Such complaints sound, on their face, preposterous. But just as the human body didn't evolve to deal well with today's easy access to abundant fat and sugars, and will crave an extra cheeseburger when it shouldn't, the human mind, apparently, didn't evolve to deal with excess money, and will desire more long after wealth has become a burden rather than a comfort. A vast body of psychological evidence shows that the pleasures of consumption wear off through time and depend heavily on one's frame of reference...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:13 AM
( 10:11 AM ) The Rat
ELIZABETH TAYLOR, R.I.P.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:11 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
( 11:21 PM ) The Rat
ELECTRIC MIDDLE FINGER FOR QUADRIPLEGICS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:21 PM
( 9:35 PM ) The Rat
FINALLY, A SPY ROBOT THAT DOES FLOORS. You would think the Japanese would've come up with this, not the Koreans.
And: There's a metaphor for academia in here somewhere...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:35 PM
( 7:13 PM ) The Rat
NOT TONIGHT, HONEY! via Failbook.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:13 PM
( 4:10 PM ) The Rat
5 BIZARRE BRAIN HACKS THAT MAKE YOU BETTER AT SPORTS, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:10 PM
( 2:50 PM ) The Rat
SPERM. Excellent Radiolab episode on, well, take a guess. The "Fatherhood" segment is particularly good (albeit painful, not only in the obvious ways but in the segment on the now-childless donor she contacts who's eventually found to be not her biological father, and thus still—so far as anybody knows—childless).
The very last few minutes of the final program are also pretty mesmerizing (about a widow who tries to conceive using sperm recovered from her late husband—several relationships after his death) (interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, one of the specialists interviewed notes that the vast majority of widows who have sperm collected for this purpose ultimately decide not to go through with insemination).
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:50 PM
( 10:29 AM ) The Rat
$1.5 MILLION PAID FOR WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE DOG.
Big Splash takes the title of the World's Most Expensive Dog away from another Tibetan mastiff, Yangtze River Number Two, who sold for 4 million yuan in 2009. In an example of what some say is the excess exhibited among China's new rich, Yangtze River Number Two was chauffeured to its new owner in a motorcade that included 30 limousines.
From this article on the same story:
James Pally, a Tibetan mastiff breeder from Pantymwyn near Mold in Flintshire, North Wales, said:
'They are very smart and they think for themselves and can sense danger very acutely.
'Tibetan mastiffs were originally used to guard the livestock and they are very good with other animals and they love children.
'I have six of them and if you don't give them enough attention they sit in front of the TV.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:29 AM
( 10:22 AM ) The Rat
SAT'S REALITY TV QUESTION FLUMMOXES SOME TAKERS. You can read the prompt in question here.
Every year, the SAT reduces more than a few teenage test-takers to tears.
But few questions on the so-called Big Test appear to have provoked more anxious chatter—at least in this era of texting and online comment streams and discussion threads—than an essay prompt in some versions of the SAT administered last Saturday in which students were asked to opine on reality television.
"This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV," one test-taker wrote on Saturday on the Web site College Confidential, under the user name "littlepenguin."
"I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively," he wrote, invoking the 19th-century social reformer. "I kinda want to cry right now."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:22 AM
( 3:31 AM ) The Rat
Pheidippides is said to have run the first marathon. That was in September of 490 B.C. He brought news that the Persians had been defeated. Athens was saved. Civilization was saved. "Rejoice!" he said. "We conquer!"
As Robert Browning would later write, "Like wine through clay/Joy in his blood bursting his heart/He died—the bliss!"
The bliss is what I'm after.
Although mortality is part of it. I was moving in a pack of runners 20-odd years ago on a sidewalk in White Plains, New York, after a half-marathon. Spotting others in singlets and with the distinctive postexertion matted hair, we waved our bony little fists. "Good race!" we shouted.
"Good race!" they shouted right back.
A funeral cortege appeared suddenly on the street beside us. The contrast between this ominous procession and our own towering spirits silenced the pack and made us—for an instant—ashamed. Then one of the runners waved his fist at the hearse. "Good race!" he shouted...
—Benjamin Cheever, "Finding My Stride"
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:31 AM
Monday, March 21, 2011
( 10:59 PM ) The Rat
"STEREOTYPE HIPSTER SEARCHING FOR STEREOTYPE HIPSTER."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:59 PM
( 8:31 PM ) The Rat
THE INTERVIEW reran Lyse Doucet's 2009 interview with Art Spiegelman this week; you can listen to it here.
LD. You've always been attracted to great—trauma—
AS. Grim—grim subjects, yes.
LD. And you get obsessed about them... Some would—with all due respect, some would say, Isn't Art Spiegelman a bit neurotic, or—?
AS. Oh, well I—you know, when somebody asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, at the age of ten I said, "Neurotic." My—my vocation.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:31 PM
( 1:26 PM ) The Rat
TAI CHI BEATS BACK DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY, STUDY SHOWS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:26 PM
( 1:23 PM ) The Rat
"THE SINGLE MOST POWERFUL TOOL FOR POPULATION CONTROL EVER CREATED." CIA'S "Facebook" Program Dramatically Cuts Agency's Costs, via the Onion.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:23 PM
( 1:18 PM ) The Rat
RATTY KNEW THE CAUSE OF THIS DISORDER would be found eventually! (I also love that there's a sponsored ad from this headlined "Reclaim Your Brain.")
The powers that be in Las Vegas figured out something long before neuroscientists at two Duke University medical schools confirmed their ideas in a recent study: Trying to make decisions while sleep-deprived can lead to a case of optimism...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:18 PM
( 1:06 PM ) The Rat
LISTENING TO THIS (lyrics here); blaming it on the rain rather than owning the sectors of my musical interests that might otherwise be deemed atrocious.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:06 PM
( 12:58 PM ) The Rat
"THE EGG IS LIKE THE ONE RING... IT BRINGS THEM ALL AND IN THE DARKNESS BINDS THEM." The "little" would seem definitely misplaced in the title of this week's Sandwich Monday sandwich.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:58 PM
( 8:40 AM ) The Rat
META SEEING EYE DOG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:40 AM
Sunday, March 20, 2011
( 10:47 PM ) The Rat
BEWICK'S SWANS' BOTTOMS SIZED UP FOR SCIENCE. This and the last link are both via Wait Wait.
Bigger bottoms are definitely better—for swans at least.
Scientists at the UK's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust are measuring the size of Bewick's swans' behinds, to see if they have the fat reserves to survive their long migration to Arctic Russia...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 PM
( 10:35 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 PM
( 5:45 PM ) The Rat
"73 GENERATIONS OF BREEDING FOR HOSTILITY TO HUMANS." Wow, sounds like my family. (Especially don't miss the third pic from the end. Slideshow is via IKM.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:45 PM
( 5:26 PM ) The Rat
EVERYONE'S IRISH ON ST. PATTY'S DAY, EVEN RATS, via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:26 PM
( 4:31 PM ) The Rat
IRISH HISTORY, via Failbook. Also see Realistic Relationship Options; and I don't know why If you say so... made me laugh so hard.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:31 PM
( 11:07 AM ) The Rat
POLE DANCING FOR JESUS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM
( 2:10 AM ) The Rat
FUN SCIENCEDAILY HEADLINE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:10 AM
Saturday, March 19, 2011
( 9:10 PM ) The Rat
RATTY JUST SERIOUSLY ALMOST PUNCHED HERSELF IN THE FACE fending off a sneeze during the Rondo mvmt. of the Op. 20 Piano Concerto (Orpheus, with Rudolf Buchbinder). They really push the cough drops here (I think Ricola may even be the official cough drop of Carnegie Hall, or something?); wish there were as easy a suppressant for sneezes! (Though fyi, next time you have a sneeze bugging you because it won't quite emerge, try this trick: Look directly at a bright light source. See?—don't tell me I haven't learned anything from my failed relationships.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:10 PM
( 9:42 AM ) The Rat
PASS THE LIVER—IT'S PHILIP ROTH'S BIRTHDAY!
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 AM
Friday, March 18, 2011
( 11:07 AM ) The Rat
RATTY JUST FINISHED MATT LONG'S MEMOIR (as an audiobook), which was amazing and, as one Amazon reviewer puts it, "A must read for anyone who thinks that their cross is too heavy to carry." I know this kind of thing can tend to be a bit "Stirring Symbol Of Human Spirit Difficult To Clean Out Of Tank Treads," but seriously, just buy the damn thing and read it; you won't regret it. (You don't have to be a runner to get something out of this book, by the way—you just have to have indulged in self-pity at any point in your life, for just about any cause. So, um, I qualified.)
Besides the obvious draws (who doesn't like a comeback story?), the story is also exceptionally well told (it's co-authored with Charles Butler, an editor at Runner's World). I won't be posting excerpts until/unless I get hold of a hard copy, but besides having a mind-boggling story to tell, Long also just seems like a ton of fun—the kind of guy it'd be cool to have a beer with, once you managed to get over how manifestly more awesome than you he is. He's also one of the only people who's ever made me wish (OK—just for a minute or so) that I'd been born an extrovert.
Long's I Will Foundation, which helps people recovering from traumatic injury, is here. The Achilles Track Club is here. And Butler's 2009 article, "Matt Long's Second Life" (which covers some of the events in The Long Run but not, for instance, his post-accident Ironman finish) (no, that's not a typo, and seriously, WTF), is here.
Long is flanked by two longtime buddies, fellow fireman Frank Carino and Noel Flynn, who works at a Manhattan hedge fund. Carino has done an 11–hour Ironman triathlon, while Flynn is on the cusp of a sub–three–hour marathon. Still, they've agreed to hang with their friend, step by step, for a very slow run through New York City. It could take eight or nine hours. Long's really not sure. All he knows is that until he finishes, his exhausting battle to restore his body, his identity, and his connections to loved ones won't be complete either.
Long wobbles over to a police barricade to stretch his legs. He adjusts his black skullcap. Then he gives his knee–high compression socks a final tug. He hopes they'll give his battered legs some extra support. Long's friends take note—and let him have it.
"Yo, Frank," says Flynn. "Check out Matty's legs."
"Very nice, Matty," says Carino. "Ya look like Paula Radcliffe."
For a while, Long joins in as the jokes fly, but he has other things on his mind. The fast–talking, hard–charging fireman is about to run the slowest race of his life, and even if he finishes, he's surely going to suffer. He paces around like his life depends on what happens over the next 26 miles. And maybe it does...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM
( 10:34 AM ) The Rat
"MANOLO SAYS, THE MANOLO IS ALWAYS HAPPY TO HEAR FROM SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT THE TRADITIONAL ROLE OF THE BRIDESMAID IS ROUGHLY THAT OF THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS ON THE TABLES."
Too often, the Manolo hears from the bridesmaids who relentlessly complain about the unflattering cut and color of the dress they are asked to wear. "Manolo," they shout, "the bride has asked us to wear the full-skirted orange dresses that makes us look like the traffic cones!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:34 AM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
ABC PICKS UP '101 WAYS TO LEAVE A GAME SHOW.' Onion-esque. Via IKM.
101 Ways, which shot a pilot for ABC last summer, features contestants competing in a series of multiple-choice questions for a $50,000 cash prize. The twist is that the main attraction comes after a contestant is actually eliminated as each of them is being ejected from the show in a spectacular fashion—i.e., being flown away strapped to the wing of a biplane, shot out of a cannon, pushed off the top of a moving semi-truck, dragged underwater by a one-ton anchor or yanked off a dock by a speedboat...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 4:07 AM ) The Rat
JOSH CLARK ON THE SUPERMOON. Also see this wacky thing about a guy who performed an appendectomy on himself.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:07 AM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
( 11:29 AM ) The Rat
YOU WILL CALL, I WILL ANSWER. An interview with William Stuntz, a professor at Harvard Law who died of cancer two days ago. Powerful and very much worth your time.
Q. Have your experiences led you to think differently about the relationship between the body and the spirit? Christians sometimes behave as though all that matters is the spiritual life. Is that too simple? What does it mean to live our faith as embodied individuals?
A. That's a great question, and the best way I know to answer it is this. Chronic pain and cancer both make life more concrete. In times of good health, when our bodies are doing everything we want and expect them to do, there is a tendency to think of spiritual life as something that is anything but concrete. That's not possible, I find, in my present circumstances. My medical conditions, independently and together, are inescapable. Perhaps that's the key feature. They are there all the time. There is no time when I am not aware of them. I hurt all the time. I'm exhausted all the time. There is no escaping either of those states of affairs. I simply never feel like I used to feel virtually all the time.
What I find when I think back to the way I used to feel, I see that my life then was so much less concrete. It was not that I felt physical pleasure back then—in fact, I think I feel more physical pleasure now than I did when I was healthy. It was just that I did not feel very much of anything. My body was nothing more than a vessel carrying me around. I think that sensibility extends to other areas of life. It leads to a life that is more abstract, less personal, a life that is up in the clouds and not down where the rubber meets the road. The abstract life, I find, is impossible to live when your body is broken down...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM
( 11:12 AM ) The Rat
"I never dreamed of seeing this many leaves on a clover," Shigeo told the Associated Press. To avoid double-counting, Shigeo had placed decals on the leaves as he tallied them.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:12 AM
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
( 2:58 PM ) The Rat
A GOOD SENSE OF SMELL IS MORE A PRODUCT OF TRAINING THAN GOOD GENES.
The results show that in the experts of both groups, olfactory mental imagery activates the primary olfactory cortex (piriform cortex) a zone of the brain ordinarily stimulated during perception. This proves that similar areas are activated during the perception and imagination of odors. Like visual or auditory mental imagery, olfactory imagery depends on the reactivation of olfactory images via an internal cognitive process (our own brain generates this sensation) and not in response to an odor.
Another finding is that, in perfumers, intense olfactory training influences the activation level of the neuronal network involved in the mental imagery of odors. Surprisingly, the greater the level of expertise, the more the activity of the olfactory and mnesic (hippocampus) regions is reduced. Thus, when the brain is trained, "communication" at the neuronal level takes place more easily, rapidly and efficiently, and the message is more specific, resulting in reduced activation. This shows that regular training enhances olfactory mental imagery, which does not stem from an innate faculty...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:58 PM
( 2:23 PM ) The Rat
6 REAL WORLD JEDI MIND TRICKS SALESMEN ARE USING ON YOU, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:23 PM
( 10:24 AM ) The Rat
YALE LAW SCHOOL LIBRARY LENDING OUT THERAPY DOG FOR STRESSED-OUT STUDENTS. What a cutie!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:24 AM
( 10:20 AM ) The Rat
The clergy from all faiths came too. At the end of my first day in the hospital, Joseph Potasnik, a prominent New York rabbi, spent a few minutes talking to my parents, who are as Jewish as the Kennedys. As he was leaving, the rabbi told him that he would keep him in his prayers. That's when Dad let him in on a secret.
"It was really nice of you to come, Rabbi, very nice. We had eight priests here earlier, and eight prayers, and your prayers are just as welcome."
When Rabbi Potasnik heard that, he leaned over to Mom and Dad and said: "Mike, that should tell you something. It takes eight priests to do the job of one rabbi."
For the first time all day, Mom and Dad smiled...
—The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:20 AM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
( 9:50 PM ) The Rat
COST OF SLAVES FALLS TO HISTORIC LOW.
[T]he current $90 rate for a human slave is actually at an historic low. Two hundred years ago, a slave cost about $40,000 in today's money. The reason for this price slide: a massive boom in the world's population, especially in developing countries, has increased the supply of "slaveable" people.
And this has basically turned a human being into a cheap commodity—Bales says like a Styrofoam cup that's cheaply replaceable if damaged, "If they get sick, what's the point of paying for medicine—it's cheaper to let them die and acquire a new one than it is to help the ones you've got."
At this very moment, between 12 million and 30 million slaves are working around the world. That's according to low and high estimates from sociologists and the International Labor Organization...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:50 PM
( 9:49 PM ) The Rat
STANFORD DROPS LIST OF 'EASY' CLASSES FOR ATHLETES.
A drama class in Beginning Improvising and another in Social Dances of North America III were among dozens of classes on a closely guarded quarterly list distributed only to Stanford athletes to help them choose classes...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:49 PM
( 9:10 PM ) The Rat
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME WAS FUNDED BY 7-11.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:10 PM
( 6:47 PM ) The Rat
FORGET THE TREADMILL. GET A DOG.
[T]he question remains whether owning a dog encourages regular activity or whether active, healthy people are simply more likely to acquire dogs as walking companions.
A 2008 study in Western Australia addressed the question when it followed 773 adults who didn't have dogs. After a year, 92 people, or 12 percent of the group, had acquired a dog. Getting a dog increased average walking by about 30 minutes a week, compared with those who didn’t own dogs.
But on closer analysis, the new dog owners had been laggards before getting a dog, walking about 24 percent less than other people without dogs.
The researchers found that one of the motivations for getting a dog was a desire to get more exercise. Before getting a dog, the new dog owners had clocked about 89 minutes of weekly walking, but dog ownership boosted that number to 130 minutes a week...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM
( 3:50 PM ) The Rat
REAL LOVE, via Failbook.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:50 PM
( 12:39 PM ) The Rat
CHARITY OFFERS UK DRUG ADDICTS £200 TO BE STERILISED. Article is from last fall, but SYSK just ran an episode on this last week.
Mrs. Harris set up her charity in North Carolina after adopting the children of a crack addict.
Speaking to the BBC's Inside Out programme, she said: "The birth mother of my children obviously dabbled in all drugs and alcohol—she literally had a baby every year for eight years.
"I get very angry about the damage that drugs do to these children."
After paying 3,500 addicts across the United States not to have children, she is now visiting parts of the UK blighted by drugs to encourage users to undergo "long-term birth control" for cash...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:39 PM
( 12:39 AM ) The Rat
"ALL I HAVE TO DO IS ANSWER WHERE I AM, WHAT I'M EATING, AND IF I'M WEARING A SWEATER." Twitteleh: Twitter for your Jewish mother—via IKM, one of my several Jewish mothers.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:39 AM
Monday, March 14, 2011
( 9:29 PM ) The Rat
We like our heroes' lives to adhere to the simple and ascending trajectory we associate with Great Men. And in its public outlines, Willie McCool's life was all of that. A disciplined and strong-willed distance runner from an early age, a little boy who built and flew model airplanes, an honors student who loved chemistry and poetry equally well.
But his life wasn't quite so simple. No one's is. Willie's biological father was a heavy drinker known to have a bad temper and quick to take it out on his wife, Audrey, his son, and Kirstie, Willie's little sister. After his parents divorced, Willie took it upon himself to be Kirstie's protector when they went to visit their dad. Soon, the visits stopped altogether. Audrey was a dietitian then, in Southern California, working full-time, doing her best to take care of her children, and to keep her husband from finding them. "We had to grow up young and early," says Kirstie Chadwick.
Can a hero come only from a crucible of agony? Did McCool watch out for others because he had a tough childhood? Did he run because he had discovered a place where his life was not so painful? Did his biological father—by most accounts a highly intelligent man—pass on some of his best genetic material to his son? Did Barent McCool, Willie's adoptive father—a Navy pilot and by all accounts a loving if demanding and unsentimental teacher—mold the boy who became his son into such a perfectionist? Was it Audrey's drive and need that turned Willie into a man before he was even a teenager? There's a theory for every question. One sounds as good as another. None matter too much.
Just look closer at the life...
—"16 Minutes from Home," Runner's World, December 2005 (reprinted here)
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:29 PM
( 8:21 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM
( 4:00 PM ) The Rat
"SANDWICH MONDAY" AND "PUNISH THE INTERN MONDAY" OVERLAP. The Wait Wait staff eat this thing from Burger King that will probably make you feel better about your own life.
Ian. Is there a grosser name than "BK Quad Stacker?"
Eva. BK Mushy Meat Mountain.
Robert. BK Tower of Remorse.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:00 PM
( 12:48 PM ) The Rat
HERE IS THE OFFICIAL MET ANNOUNCEMENT about yesterday's National Council Finals winners.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:48 PM
( 10:51 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:51 AM
( 12:17 AM ) The Rat
THIS is primarily worth clicking on for the caption...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:17 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
( 11:09 PM ) The Rat
THE INTERVIEW is shutting down at the end of this month, alas, but in the meantime they've been re-running some cool broadcasts from recent years. This week's podcast is of Owen Bennett-Jones's interview with Charlie Wilson (June 2006).
OB-J. There are very different views of you, so we'll start with the positive. Your fans say that you single-handedly forced Washington to believe, first of all, it could win in Afghanistan—and that you got money to fight that war... James Woolsey, former CIA director, says you should be ranked alongside Lech Walesa for your role in defeating Communism.
CW. That's a very strong compliment, of which I'm very appreciative.
OB-J. And do you believe that that was your main contribution?
CW. Oh, it was absolutely my main contribution. I don't think I quite rank with Walesa, but—the heroes of this war of course were the Mujahideen, were the warriors. And there's no question that they destroyed the morale of the Red Army. And I might say that—perhaps it's a coincidence, and perhaps it isn't, but it was only ten months after the Soviets ignominiously marched out of Afghanistan in defeat, that the Berlin Wall came down, and it all began to come apart.
OB-J. The negative view.
CW [laughing]. OK... I think I've heard that before.
OB-J. Steve Coll, who recently wrote this history of the CIA—this is what he had to say about you: "An alcoholic, Wilson abused government privileges to travel the world first-class with former beauty queens. He saw the Mujahideen through the prism of his own whiskey-soaked romanticism—noble savages fighting for freedom."
CW. There's a lot of truth in that. I plead guilty.
OB-J. To all of it?
CW. Not to quite all of it... I don't think I liked whiskey any more than Winston did.
OB-J. Winston Churchill.
OB-J. Your hero?
CW. My hero.
OB-J. And you—traveled the world, with beauty queens...
CW. I've traveled the world. And I tried not to do it with ugly women, if I could help it.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:09 PM
( 11:02 PM ) The Rat
TODAY'S GUEST ARTIST, LAWRENCE BROWNLEE, was profiled in Friday's Times.
"I've felt that there are quite a few African-American males who haven't gotten the shot they deserved," Mr. Jenkins said. Black female opera singers have long been accepted, he noted, unlike black tenors hoping for romantic leads. While acknowledging the success of performers like Vinson Cole and George Shirley, Mr. Jenkins said he had immediately sensed that Mr. Brownlee, with his star potential, could permanently shatter the glass ceiling.
That certainly seems to be the case, although there have been hurdles. After Mr. Brownlee won the Met auditions, a friend told him that an agent claimed that his height and race would consign him to small roles. Robert Mirshak, his manager, heard similar comments after adding Mr. Brownlee to his roster, as well as less direct remarks like, "He's not who our idea for the role is."
Many companies are hiring based at least in part on looks these days. "It's getting more like Hollywood and musical theater," Mr. Mirshak said. "Looks are always an issue with all my artists. If you're shorter, Asian or African-American, it's always an issue. But you have to go beyond by being better. Larry is the best in the world at what he does."
Stereotyping still affects black artists who perform opera and classical music. During a recent interview on WQXR radio in New York, Anthony McGill, a principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera, and the bass Morris Robinson said they had been mistaken for building maintenance workers, harassed by security guards at prominent houses and received squirm-inducing comments from patrons...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:02 PM
( 10:27 PM ) The Rat
UPDATE: So Ms. Johnson's "Dove sono" was good, but not stellar (the bar is of course rather high for this, one of the most famous arias from an opera whose arias are pretty much all famous)—her voice was still glorious, as it had been in the Cilea, but her interpretation just didn't (in my view) really fit the words. (But this wouldn't be the first time I've heard a stunning voice that just wasn't a Mozartean one.)
Anyway, she was in fact chosen as one of the five winners—yay! That said, there does seem to me relatively little suspense about this event—both this year and last, it's struck me that it may be hard to predict all of the winners at this event (n.b. they don't announce how many winners there will be, in any given year, till after the judges' deliberations), but it is relatively easy to predict who won't be winning. The Met likes big voices, for starters, so larger voices—which tend to come packaged in larger singers!—have very good odds. For similar reasons, I wasn't surprised that this year's winners were predominantly male—though it would be nice to get at least a mezzo or two in the mix next year?! (I admit I'm biased—I'm all about mezzos and baritones, and will only get really excited about a soprano if she's seriously amazing.) I also wonder if Mr. Masters didn't hurt his chances by opting for Britten ("Bottom's Dream" from the Midsummer Night's Dream) as his second aria.
Here is a quick rundown of the concert as a whole.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 PM
( 3:55 PM ) The Rat
AT INTERMISSION at the National Council Finals, one of my favorite events of the year, and alone worth living out East for. A very high caliber of singing of course, but (as last year) one voice that dominates the afternoon—in this case, Michelle Johnson, a soprano from Texas who is still a student at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and whose "Io son l'humile ancella" (Adriana Lecouvreur) was so astounding the audience didn't even let her finish: There was a great crash of applause as soon as she began the aria's last note (which is fairly long!). I, ahem, don't always agree with Met audiences—but I did on this occasion: This really was one of the most knock-'em-dead performances I've heard live from any singer, student or professional. Her aria for the second half of the program is "Dove sono," and I'm prepared to faint. I've heard the Cilea before—but had no idea it could sound like that!
Ms. Johnson is 28. And that's the beauty of this event—if listening to great opera feels like (among other things) falling in love, an amazing performance from someone so early in her career is like falling in love in the way you do when you're very young: that fresh, that raw, that optimistic. I hope to never miss this concert (now in its 58th year); it's the kind of thing to schedule your pregnancies around.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:55 PM
( 11:08 AM ) The Rat
"GATSBY" HOUSE FACES DEMOLITION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 AM
Saturday, March 12, 2011
( 4:24 PM ) The Rat
KEYS TO LONG LIFE? NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT. Hmm...
"We came to a new understanding about happiness and health," said Martin, now a psychology professor at La Sierra University in Riverside. "One of the findings that really astounds people, including us, is that the Longevity Project participants who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humor as kids lived shorter lives, on average, than those who were less cheerful and joking. It was the most prudent and persistent individuals who stayed healthiest and lived the longest."
Part of the explanation lies in health behaviors—the cheerful, happy-go-lucky kids tended to take more risks with their health across the years, Friedman noted. While an optimistic approach can be helpful in a crisis, "we found that as a general life-orientation, too much of a sense that 'everything will be just fine' can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to health and long life. Prudence and persistence, however, led to a lot of important benefits for many years. It turns out that happiness is not a root cause of good health. Instead, happiness and health go together because they have common roots"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:24 PM
( 9:32 AM ) The Rat
THE TOLL BROS. BROADCAST OF BORIS GODUNOV begins at noon today.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:32 AM
( 9:22 AM ) The Rat
"...OR WHICH OF TWO ALIEN CREATURES LOOKS INTELLIGENT." A wacky but interesting study on right- and left-handed bias.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 AM
Friday, March 11, 2011
( 7:15 PM ) The Rat
LIVE-STREAMING OF THE QUEEN OF SPADES begins here in 45 mins.! And lookie who's in it!
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:15 PM
( 7:07 PM ) The Rat
"I WANT TO STICK LITTLE FELT BIBLE CHARACTERS ON THIS GUY'S HAT." Sad Etsy boyfriends, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:07 PM
Thursday, March 10, 2011
( 9:06 AM ) The Rat
I WONDER IF THIS WORKS?
Also see High Horse and I'd hate to be Todd.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:06 AM
( 9:05 AM ) The Rat
"THE WORLD'S HIGHEST SQUATTER BUILDING."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 AM
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
( 9:18 PM ) The Rat
AND, A VIEWER COMMENT on the second movement:
Mozart makes me feel good. Whatever it is. Me and my guinea pig listen to it together. :)
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:18 PM
( 8:55 PM ) The Rat
"I WANT TO STARE AT FLAX SEEDS, BUT LISTEN TO MOZART AT THE SAME TIME! CAN ANYBODY GIVE ME ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?" Viewer comment found at this YouTube upload of Sir Charles Mackerras (whose Figaro was the one that entrapped me, back in '08...) conducting the Prague Chamber Orchestra in Mozart's Symphony No. 39.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:55 PM
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
CLEANSING THE SOUL BY HURTING THE FLESH: THE GUILT-REDUCING EFFECT OF PAIN. Also via ScienceDaily, more stuff to blame on your mom.
Poor diet during pregnancy increases offspring's vulnerability to the effects of aging, new research has shown for the first time.
The research, by scientists from the University of Cambridge, provides important insight into why children born to mothers who consumed an unhealthy diet during pregnancy have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (a significant contributing factor to heart disease and cancer) later in life.
"What is most exciting about these findings is that we are now starting to really understand how nutrition during the first nine months of life spent in the womb shape our long term health by influencing how the cells in our body age," said Dr Susan Ozanne, the senior author on the paper and British Heart Foundation Senior Fellow from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge.
It is well established that environmental factors interact with genes throughout life, affecting the expression of those genes and, consequently, tissue function and disease risk. Diet during critical periods of development, such as during the nine months in the womb, has been cited as one such environmental factor. Epigenetics, which refers to modifications to the DNA that regulate how much of a gene is produced, has been suggested to underlie these effects...
And by the way, Great Tits Also Have Age-Related Defects.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 6:59 PM ) The Rat
MOZART RUBBER DUCK.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:59 PM
( 8:39 AM ) The Rat
THIS GUY is only the hook for the article (which is about driver-cyclist hostility generally); still, what a hook!
The U.S. Census Bureau defines an "extreme commuter" as someone who spends more than three hours getting to and from work. This is usually understood to be by car. It's not clear, then, how the Census would categorize Joe Simonetti, a 57-year-old psychotherapist who lives with his wife in Pound Ridge, New York. His commute takes him from the northern reaches of exurban Westchester County to his office just south of Central Park.
It's about three and a half hours each way.
When I heard about Simonetti's commute—some 50-odd road miles as Google Maps flies—I was vaguely stupefied. It may or may not be the longest bike commute in America, but it's certainly the most improbable. In my mind's eye, there was the dense clamor of New York City, then a netherland of train yards and traffic-clogged overpasses, then an outer belt of big-box retail, and then you were suddenly in the land of golf courses and five-acre zoning—where middle managers crowd the bar car on Metro-North and hedge-fund analysts cruise in 7 Series BMWs down I-95.
The idea that this landscape could be traversed on a bike struck me as fantastic. This is America, where 65 percent of trips under one mile are made by car...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:39 AM
( 1:33 AM ) The Rat
U.S. 'HEARTLAND' NEAR HISTORIC SHIFT FROM MIDWEST. Maybe Americans are smarter than I generally give them credit for being.
America's population center is edging away from the Midwest, pulled by Hispanic growth in the Southwest, according to census figures. The historic shift is changing the nation's politics and even the traditional notion of the country's heartland—long the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and culture.
The West is now home to the four fastest-growing states—Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho—and has surpassed the Midwest in population, according to 2010 figures. California and Texas added to the southwestern population tilt, making up more than one-fourth of the nation's total gains since 2000...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:33 AM
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
( 8:09 PM ) The Rat
6 FAMOUS ARTISTS YOU DIDN'T KNOW WERE PERVERTS, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:09 PM
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
U.S. 'DIABETES BELT' IS IDENTIFIED. Onion-esque!
The belt includes portions of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the entire state of Mississippi.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 10:29 AM ) The Rat
20 TONS OF MAYONNAISE EXPLODES ALL OVER FREEWAY AFTER TRUCK CRASH IN MISSOURI, from a couple weeks back.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:29 AM
( 8:20 AM ) The Rat
FEMALE GIS STRUGGLE WITH HIGHER RATE OF DIVORCE.
Two failed marriages were the cost of war for Sgt. Jennifer Schobey.
The breaking point in her first marriage came when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, the last in a long line of separations they had endured as they juggled two military careers. Schobey married another combat veteran, but eventually that union failed under the weight of two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder—his and hers. They are now getting divorced.
Separations. Injuries. Mental health issues. All are added weights to the normal strains of marriage.
For women in the military, there's a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are more than twice as likely to end in divorce as those of their male comrades—and up to three times as likely for enlisted women. And military women get divorced at higher rates than their peers outside the military, while military men divorce at lower rates than their civilian peers.
About 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in roles ranging from helicopter pilots to police officers. Last year, 7.8 percent of women in the military got a divorce, compared with 3 percent of military men, according to Pentagon statistics. Among the military's enlisted corps, nearly 9 percent of women saw their marriages end, compared with a little more than 3 percent of the men.
Like all divorces, the results can be a sense of loss and a financial blow. But for military women, a divorce can be a breaking point—even putting them at greater risk for homelessness down the road...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:20 AM
Monday, March 07, 2011
( 7:34 PM ) The Rat
A NEW SPIN on that old good health and a poor memory thing.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:34 PM
( 7:09 PM ) The Rat
WELCOME to my first reader (that I've been aware of) from Thimpu, Bhutan!
Though in the interest of academic integrity I'm rather glad you probably didn't find an answer here to your query, do you think the cells of an elephant will be larger than a rat's?? explain briefly. Unless of course this was some kind of a bar bet (which is always possible, since it does appear to be at the center of a raging controversy).
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:09 PM
( 3:16 PM ) The Rat
I'm wearing running shoes at the moment, gazing up at the unfriendly-looking "hills," surrounded by scores of men and women who seem less worried than I am. They are stretching, smiling, and laughing, while I reflect on a lifetime of other big, stupid mistakes (the Hawaiian shirt I wore on my date with the Tri Delt; trying to befriend, in graduate school, the pit bull next door; hitting on the nun/counselor at the rehab unit).
—Steve Friedman, "All at Sea," Runner's World, April 2011
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:16 PM
( 2:45 PM ) The Rat
THE WAIT WAIT STAFF EAT a bacon veggie burger.
Ian. This sandwich is like that couple you're friends with, and you know they shouldn't be together but it's not polite to tell them.
Eva. One's way hotter than the other. That one being the bacon, of course.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:45 PM
( 1:45 PM ) The Rat
THE HOUSE FROM UP NOW EXISTS IN REAL LIFE—AND IT FLIES! Via JWB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:45 PM
( 8:29 AM ) The Rat
THE WORLD'S RAREST BIRDS. You may be tempted to laugh at e.g. no. 2, but before you do, think back to some of your courtship displays. (Also don't miss no. 4, which is supercute.) Via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:29 AM
( 8:19 AM ) The Rat
We went through Agadez and got about $700 worth of cookies...
—Running the Sahara
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:19 AM
( 8:13 AM ) The Rat
Mark. I'll say ketchup is maybe a little bit better than, like, siphoning corn syrup into your mouth until your teeth liquefy. But it's not a lot better—it's just too sweet.
Dan. Ketchup is the perfect dip. It's one of the greatest in history, I will go so far as to say, and that is because it is one of the few substances in the world that can be both a dip and a condiment. Okay? Now, if we're talking about French fries, we're talking about dips, not condiments—but ketchup can be either, and that is why it is wonderful. It is tangy, it is sweet, it is tomatoey, there is acid, there's vinegar, there's sugar… It is everything at once, and that is why it is beautiful. And I think that a small, tiny bit of ketchup on a fry, is a wonderful thing.
Mark. It's just too sweet.
Dan. You hate America.
—The Sporkful*, Episode 7: "French Fry Dips"
*I find the hosts' manner a bit annoying, but the concept for this podcast (they bill themselves as "not for foodies, but for eaters"—basically highly OCD discussions about a different food per episode—though more exalted foods, such as donuts and pizza, are allotted a two-part series each) is terrific. It's also "family-friendly," btw, so might be worth trying out on your children (it's free at iTunes, and average episode length is only about 15 mins.).
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:13 AM
( 1:10 AM ) The Rat
28,800 TOYS AT SEA. This sounds like fun.
"Hast seen the white whale?" a Melville-loving officer aboard a research vessel asks Donovan Hohn, in his dazzling "Moby-Duck," whenever they pass in the ship’s corridor.
"Hast seen the yellow duck?" Hohn cheerfully responds.
The answer is always no, but this hardly dampens Hohn’s enthusiasm for his Moby—a load of bath toys that plummeted off a storm-wracked container ship in the northern Pacific in 1992. The maritime misfortune was exciting for beachcombers, who would find the toys on North American coastlines for years to come, and it provided data for scientists who study ocean currents. It also spurred the map-loving Hohn, a dozen years on, to give up his Manhattan teaching gig and embark upon what could have been a fairly straightforward investigation. Where did the ducks come from, where did they drift, and why?
But Hohn isn't a Harper's editor (and winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize) for nothing. There's a philosophical aspect to his quest as well—a search for a watery wilderness that would "refresh my capacity for awe" (which is why Hohn looks forward, while riding a container ship across the North Pacific in winter, "to a little Sturm and possibly some Drang") and a desire to make a journey that would "turn a map into a world"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:10 AM
Sunday, March 06, 2011
( 4:08 PM ) The Rat
The nomads value their freedom of movement so much that they believe houses are the graves of the living.
—Running the Sahara
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:08 PM
Saturday, March 05, 2011
( 9:05 PM ) The Rat
TEXAS LANDOWNERS STUCK ON WRONG SIDE OF BORDER FENCE. Yikes. Via Wait Wait.
The Homeland Security Department last year put up a tall steel barrier across the fields from Taylor's home. The government calls it the border fence, but it was erected about a quarter-mile north of the Rio Grande, leaving Taylor's home between the fence and the river. Her two acres now lie on a strip of land that isn't Mexico but doesn't really seem like the United States either...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 PM
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
AWW, A TFLN LOVE LETTER!
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 1:58 PM ) The Rat
"LIKE TODAY NEVER HAPPENED / TODAY NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE." Nearing the end of Season 2 of Two Gomers Run a Marathon (look, S2 comes out to over 42 hours' worth of content!), and I'm simply not even going to try to write my own entry on what a revelation these guys have been—I would spend way too much time on it—but instead am just linking to "How Two Gomers Changed My Life," a nice little tribute by another fan that'll give you some sense of what the show is like. For the record, incidentally, I've historically kind of hated running (despite being an on-again-off-again gym rat); but seriously, so long as you have feet, you'll probably find these guys inspiring. (I found them via Stuff You Should Know, whose plug last year apparently doubled their listenership; they're now well past a quarter million downloads.)
To friends, I've been referring to TGRAM as "that running podcast," but the fact is running is only part of why it's so captivating. (I've been going to sleep with TGRAM playing for several nights now, because I just couldn't bear to stop listening—especially as they closed in on marathon day.) When Anthony (a professional bassoonist in Florida) and Steven (who works in campus ministry in Arizona) first launched S1, Two Gomers Run a Half Marathon, they subtitled it, "A podcast about two regular guys trying to do something they've never done before," and while I'm not Christian, the connection between this quest (to go from thoroughly unathletic, uber-couch potato [at the start of their training in S1, Steven hits a wall after fifteen steps!] to half-marathoner, then marathoner, then sub-five marathoner, and in due course—or so we've been promised—potentially, in S4, triathlete), and the seriousness with which both men take their faith, is a big part of what has me so hooked on the show. (I'm certainly not tuning in to hear more about their obsession with Full House, I'll tell ya that...) It's also more motivating, frankly, than an exercise-themed program by somebody who started out fit, ever could be*: You really do kind of feel like, If these guys could get off their asses and accomplish what they did, the least I can do is put away the Doritos.
While the friendship and chemistry between the hosts (who've been friends since their childhood days in Wisconsin)—and their brutal honesty both with each other and with themselves—is, as with just about any successful podcast, the key to the show, what ultimately makes TGRAM so addictive is that (and forgive me for the cliche) it really is about so much more than "mere" exercise. (It's not even just about pushing your own limits—about how little any of us ever knows of what we have in us ["I do not myself comprehend all that I am"]—even though that, too, is part of TGRAM's magic.) Not for the first time on this blog, I'll here simply invoke my favorite passage from Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air:
[T]he notion that climbers are merely adrenaline junkies chasing a righteous fix is a fallacy, at least in the case of Everest. What I was doing up there had almost nothing in common with bungee jumping or skydiving or riding a motorcycle at 120 miles per hour. Above the comforts of Base Camp, the expedition in fact became an almost Calvinistic undertaking. The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any other mountain I'd been on; I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium, and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking, above all else, something like a state of grace.
*Besides, how many running podcasts can there be with a host who'll periodically recommend running while listening to e.g. Sibelius? (Um, which is not to be taken as an endorsement of most of their musical tastes...)
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:58 PM
( 11:28 AM ) The Rat
HEE! This is also terrific.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM
Friday, March 04, 2011
( 12:22 AM ) The Rat
That page in turn links to this, from 2009.
Much of the research examining the effects of parental control has been guided by the idea that too much may interfere with a child's psychological development by making them feel as though they don't have any control over their lives. This outcome may be particularly pronounced in the West, where autonomy and independence are emphasized.
Longitudinal studies have indicated that parental control in both Western and East Asian countries can have similar results on children from those regions. For example, as children are entering adolescence, the more parents make decisions for them regarding personal issues, the more the child's emotional suffering will be affected two years later—the size of this effect was similar in the United States and China.
However, there may be some contexts in which the effect of parental control is stronger in the West than in East Asian countries. In Western countries, parents tend to decrease control more than Chinese parents do as children go through adolescence; Western children expect this decrease in supervision and therefore, their psychological functioning may be dependent on the extent to which parents decrease their control over them. In addition, the negative effects of parental control over children's academic learning may be stronger in the West than in East Asia. In East Asian countries, there is a very strong moral aspect associated with learning and an education has much greater financial impact than in the West. For these reasons, when it comes to academics, East Asian children may be more accepting of excessive parental involvement...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:22 AM
Thursday, March 03, 2011
( 7:24 PM ) The Rat
THAT FEELING YOU GET, via Failbook.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:24 PM
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
( 12:34 PM ) The Rat
THINK YOU KNOW EVERY IN-N-OUT BURGER VARIANT ON THE MENU? THINK AGAIN. Via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:34 PM
( 11:11 AM ) The Rat
"THE BIKE IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MACHINE FOR CREATING SUFFERING EVER INVENTED." Radiolab's episode on "Limits," from last April, is astonishing. They like to throw in rather (to my mind) OTT sound effects and so on, but—certainly in the segment on "The Limits of the Body" (esp. the part on the Race Across America)—it really works.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:11 AM
( 8:41 AM ) The Rat
THE PHYSICS OF BREAKFAST CEREAL, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:41 AM
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
( 11:45 PM ) The Rat
TOY STORY MEETS THE OFFICE, via Passive-Aggressive Notes.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:45 PM
( 9:26 PM ) The Rat
PENTHOUSE ROLLS OUT FIRST ALL-3D PORN CHANNEL.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:26 PM
( 8:09 PM ) The Rat
SELF-CONTROL IN CHILDHOOD PREDICTS HEALTH AND WEALTH IN ADULTHOOD. OK, so I'm the exception that proves the rule...
The Dunedin Study was the brainchild of Phil Silva, and its wide-ranging team include Terrie Moffit and Avshalom Caspi, a husband and wife duo who work at Duke University and King's College London. The study began way back in 1975, with 1037 children who were born in Dunedin, New Zealand between April 1972 and March 1973. The researchers became their occasional companions through most of their lives, up till the age of 32. At 11 separate points, Moffit and Caspi measured the recruits' health, wealth and more. And amazingly for a study of this sort, 1014 of the children are still alive and involved.
Thanks to their unique study, Moffit and Caspi have found that children who show high levels of self-control within their first decade of life do better in adulthood. Even after accounting for things like intelligence and social class, those who had a tighter grip on their behaviour as children are now in better health as adults. They're also less likely to be abusing drugs, have a criminal record, or suffer from financial problems.
Moffit and Caspi assessed the children's self-control at the ages of 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11, by looking at their hyperactivity, attention, impulsiveness, aggression, and more. The children did the same evaluations, as did their parents and teachers. All the scores were a good fit for one another, so Moffit and Caspi combined these numbers into a single measure of childhood self-control. Finally, they adjusted the value according to the volunteers' family background and IQ...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:09 PM
( 7:52 PM ) The Rat
WILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO MUSIC IS BIOLOGICAL, STUDY OF GENE VARIANTS SUGGESTS.
Also see Inability to shake regrets can have effect on physical health, the latest on gender-confused mites, and "TLC"s promise health and happiness.
Lifestyle changes—such as getting more exercise, time in nature, or helping others—can be as effective as drugs or counseling to treat an array of mental illnesses, according to a new paper published by the American Psychological Association.
Multiple mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, can be treated with certain lifestyle changes as successfully as diseases such as diabetes and obesity, according to Roger Walsh, M.D., PhD. of the University of California, Irvine's College of Medicine. Walsh reviewed research on the effects of what he calls "therapeutic lifestyle changes," or TLCs, including exercise, nutrition and diet, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, spending time in nature, and service to others. His paper was published in American Psychologist, APA's flagship journal.
Walsh reviewed research on TLCs' effectiveness and advantages, as well as the psychological costs of spending too much time in front of the TV or computer screen, not getting outdoors enough, and becoming socially isolated. He concludes that "Lifestyle changes can offer significant therapeutic advantages for patients, therapists, and societies, yet are insufficiently appreciated, taught or utilized." The paper describes TLCs as effective, inexpensive and often enjoyable, with fewer side effects and complications than medications. "In the 21st century, therapeutic lifestyles may need to be a central focus of mental, medical and public health," Walsh said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:52 PM
( 10:35 AM ) The Rat
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS APP may be the name.
For three days this week, victims of unrequited love were able to effortlessly track their crushes' Facebook relationship statuses using the Breakup Notifier Facebook app that launched Monday. On Wednesday, however, the social network shut down the app—but not before it had acquired about 3 million users.
Now Facebook app WaitingRoom wants to offer those former Breakup Notifier users an upgrade in stalking efficiency. Not only will the Facebook app notify you when the person you’re pining after relieves himself or herself from a relationship, but it will also help you anonymously encourage that breakup.
Here's how it works: When you indicate interest in an unavailable Facebook friend, that person gets an e-mail notification that there is someone in his or her "WaitingRoom" (this person need not have the app installed at this point). The identity of the admirer isn't revealed until the recipient has changed his or her Facebook status to single.
"If you're already in a relationship," the app's site says, "WaitingRoom will give you the confidence to become single again—if that's what you really want."
In order to avoid getting people in the waiting room beat up by significant others, nothing regarding the app gets posted publicly...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 AM