Saturday, June 30, 2012
( 10:08 PM ) The Rat
MATH LEARNING SOFTWARE AND OTHER TECHNOLOGY ARE HURTING EDUCATION.
When Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, Va., recently renovated its classrooms, Vern Williams, who might be the best math teacher in the country, had to fight to keep his blackboard. The school was putting in new "interactive whiteboards" in every room, part of a broader effort to increase the use of technology in education. That might sound like a welcome change. But this effort, part of a nationwide trend, is undermining American education, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. It is beginning to do to our educational system what the transformation to industrial agriculture has done to our food system over the past half century: efficiently produce a deluge of cheap, empty calories.
I went to see Williams because he was famous when I was in middle school 20 years ago, at a different school in the same county. Longfellow’s teams have been state champions for 24 of the last 29 years in MathCounts, a competition for middle schoolers. Williams was the only actual teacher on a 17-member National Mathematics Advisory Panel that reported to President Bush in 2008.
Williams doesn't just prefer his old chalkboard to the high-tech version. His kids learn from textbooks that are decades old—not because they can't afford new ones, but because Williams and a handful of his like-minded colleagues know the old ones are better. The school's parent-teacher association buys them from used bookstores because the county won't pay for them (despite the plentiful money for technology). His preferred algebra book, he says, is "in-your-face algebra. They give amazing outstanding examples. They teach the lessons."
The modern textbooks, he says, contain hundreds of extraneous, confusing, and often outright wrong examples, instead of presenting mathematical ideas in a coherent way. The examples bloat the books to thousands of pages and disrupt the logical flow of ideas. (For instance, the standard geometry book for Fairfax County, which is used in schools around the country, tries to explain what a mathematical point is by analogy to pixels on TV screens, which are not in fact point-like.) Teachers at other schools in the county have told him that they would rather use the old books, too, but their principals would kill them. Other teachers have told me the same about new technologies—they, like Williams, think the technologies are ineffectual, but lack his courage to oppose them.
According to an October 2011 report, 89 percent of high school math teachers think their students are ready for college-level mathematics. But only 26 percent of post-secondary teachers think the students are ready once they get there...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:08 PM
( 9:52 PM ) The Rat
NO COMMENT. Also see Persistence is learned from fathers, study suggests.
A father's love contributes as much—and sometimes more—to a child's development as does a mother's love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.
"In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood," says Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, co-author of the new study in Personality and Social Psychology Review. "Children and adults everywhere—regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender—tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures."
Looking at 36 studies from around the world that together involved more than 10,000 participants, Rohner and co-author Abdul Khaleque found that in response to rejection by their parents, children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others. The pain of rejection—especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood—tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners. The studies are based on surveys of children and adults about their parents' degree of acceptance or rejection during their childhood, coupled with questions about their personality dispositions.
Moreover, Rohner says, emerging evidence from the past decade of research in psychology and neuroscience is revealing that the same parts of the brain are activated when people feel rejected as are activated when they experience physical pain. "Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years," Rohner says...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:52 PM
( 9:22 PM ) The Rat
WHAT'S YOUR NAME AGAIN? LACK OF INTEREST, NOT BRAIN'S ABILITY, MAY BE WHY WE FORGET. This would explain why I can't remember a new person's name for longer than about half a second after meeting them.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 PM
Friday, June 29, 2012
( 11:29 PM ) The Rat
The ferocious face seen on this saddle pommel would have protected the rider by warding off evil. Such imagery came out of South Asia, where similar kirtimukha figures adorned temple doors and were understood to devour time and, by implication, all things.
—placard for a saddle pommel found in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Tibetan Empire period, 7th-9th century (from Buddhism Along the Silk Road: 5th-8th Century, on view through February 10)
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 PM
( 11:29 PM ) The Rat
GU YUAN'S "EARLY SPRING," one of my favorite items in The Printed Image in China, 8th-21st Century, an exhibition organized by the British Museum and on view at the Met through July 29.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 PM
( 11:13 PM ) The Rat
MAN PLAGUED BY PORN-INDUCED HEADACHES. Whenever a friend sends me a story like this, I always check the e-mail header to see whether s/he sent it to multiple people, or just to me. It's always just to me.
A man plagued by porn-induced headaches has to take painkillers 30 minutes before watching the X-rated movies, according to a case study. a The unnamed "unmarried male software professional," 24, complained of "severe, exploding" headaches that developed gradually and peaked 10 minutes into the sexy scenes.
"Progressively, he started to refrain from viewing videos as a means of avoiding headaches," researchers from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in New Delhi, India, wrote in the case study published in the June issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The cause of the man's ill-timed headaches, triggered only by porn and not by sex or masturbation, is unclear.
"This guy is interesting because he's just watching porn and not actually having sex," said Dawn Buse, associate professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of behavioral medicine at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York. "But he probably still gets aroused and excited, which may be even worse than having sex because there's no release"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:13 PM
( 5:22 PM ) The Rat
SOME LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS FOR LIGHTNING AWARENESS WEEKEND. I understand option (c) is in fact how the one person I know who got hit by lightning, got hit by lightning.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:22 PM
( 9:22 AM ) The Rat
WANNA CHARGE YOUR PHONE? RUN ON A HAMSTER WHEEL!
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 AM
( 12:22 AM ) The Rat
My thatched hut is woven with disordered layers of clouds.
Already my footprints are washed away with the red dust.
If you ask, this monk has few plans for his life:
Before my window, flowing waters; facing my pillow, books.
—Sesson Yūbai, "Poem on the Theme of a Monk's Life," trans. Stephen Addiss (seen here)
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:22 AM
Thursday, June 28, 2012
( 11:26 AM ) The Rat
THE LONG HISTORY OF THE ESPRESSO MACHINE, via A&LD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:26 AM
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
( 8:16 PM ) The Rat
MEXICAN DRUG WAR'S NEXT VICTIMS: TARAHUMARA INDIAN RUNNERS.
In their native language, Villegas-Cruz's people call themselves the Rarámuri—the light-footed ones. Their unique physical abilities were largely unknown to the outside world until 2009, when the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen made them famous. "When it comes to ultradistances," author Christopher McDougall wrote, "nothing can beat a Tarahumara runner—not a racehorse, not a cheetah, not an Olympic marathoner." Among the characters in the book was a Tarahumara champion who once ran 435 miles, and another who won a 100-mile ultramarathon in Leadville, Colo., with almost casual ease. McDougall described the reclusive Tarahumara as "the kindest, happiest people on the planet," and "benign as Bodhisattvas."
The central message—that nature intended human beings to run—struck a chord in the United States, where Born to Run had a staggering impact on the amateur-running world. But there's a painful twist to this otherwise uplifting tale. According to defense lawyers, law-enforcement sources, and some Tarahumara Indians, drug traffickers are now exploiting the very Tarahumara trait—endurance—that has been crucial to their survival. Cartel operatives enlist impoverished Tarahumara Indians to make a grueling odyssey running drugs by foot across the border to the U.S.
"You get a guy who can go 50 miles with almost no water... they've been indirectly training for [cross-border smuggling] for 10,000 years," says McDougall. "It's just tragic and disgraceful. This is a culture that has tried its best to stay out of this mess, all of these messes—the messes of the world—and now the messes have come and found them."
"I can't even weigh the cultural impact of what the drug industry is doing to the Tarahumara,” says Randy Gingrich, an American based in the city of Chihuahua for 20 years. He spends much of his time in the Sierra Madre and his NGO, Tierra Nativa, battles threats to the Tarahumara and other Indian tribes from miners, loggers, drug dealers, and the occasional tourist scheme. He says one former drug baron once forcibly evicted Tarahumara from their ancestral homes so he could build a giant Astroturf ski slope overlooking the 6,000-foot Sinforosa Canyon. The project fell through when the trafficker died in a plane crash...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:16 PM
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
( 9:19 PM ) The Rat
"TAKEN IN BY ADVERTISING, KIDS WILL PUSH TO SPEND MONEY ON EXPENSIVE BRANDS, A PHENOMENON SO COMMON SCIENTISTS HAVE A NAME FOR IT: 'THE NAG FACTOR.'" 5 Dumb Ways to Spend Money on Your Kids, via Bankrate.com.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:19 PM
( 9:13 PM ) The Rat
THING WITH OLD GIRLFRIEND WORKS WITH NEW GIRLFRIEND. Hee!
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:13 PM
( 5:17 PM ) The Rat
OPERA IN CARTOONS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:17 PM
( 2:18 PM ) The Rat
"NEW YORKERS CRY IN PUBLIC, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE. ON THE SUBWAY, JUST WALKING DOWN THE STREET. ANGELENOS CRY IN THEIR CARS." Yay, it wasn't just me! A Comprehensive List of Differences Between New York and Los Angeles, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:18 PM
( 12:58 PM ) The Rat
"IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY AND HISTORY AT THE SAME TIME." Another Anniversary, via AB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:58 PM
( 10:59 AM ) The Rat
"MYSTERY MUSHROOM" WHICH LEAVES XI'AN VILLAGERS BEFUDDLED TURNS OUT TO BE ARTIFICIAL VAGINA.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:59 AM
Monday, June 25, 2012
( 3:39 PM ) The Rat
HOW MOVIE THEATERS SHOULD BE LAID OUT, via The Oatmeal.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:39 PM
( 12:17 PM ) The Rat
FIRST FLIGHT OF THE TACOCOPTER, from April.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:17 PM
Sunday, June 24, 2012
( 10:00 PM ) The Rat
For me in general... I really value—kind of this practice of, you know, practicing enduring, practicing suffering, and I think it's a worthwhile thing to practice. So that hopefully, you know, in real life, when it's not some contrived suffering—that you can do it with more grace.
—Liza Howard on URP
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:00 PM
( 8:57 PM ) The Rat
FACEBOOK SHARING COMPARABLE TO ENJOYMENT FROM SEX, FOOD. I was tempted to share this on Facebook, stipulating that anybody clicking "Like" should put on a condom first.
Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard's Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab studied how people would react when given the choice between a small cash reward for answering factual questions and a lesser reward for giving their own views and opinions on a subject. According to the study, a majority of the participants decided they’d rather talk about themselves...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:57 PM
( 8:52 PM ) The Rat
A LOL via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:52 PM
( 7:44 PM ) The Rat
TEENS ATTACK KUNG FU EXPERT. OOPS. Via MR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:44 PM
( 2:45 PM ) The Rat
WHY DOES THE ATLANTIC HATE WOMEN?
Excerpting that paragraph brings me near tears; that's how close to the bone her insight cuts. She's right about this core truth: Being both a good parent and an all-out professional cannot be done the way we currently run our educational and work systems. When I talk to friends who've just had children, here's what I tell them: Being a working parent in our society is structurally impossible. It can't be done right, so don't blame yourself when you're failing. You'll always be failing at something—as a spouse, as a parent, as a worker. Just get used to that feeling. Slaughter's entire article is worth reading for her nuanced exploration of that alone. It's true for people at the top; it's even more true for people at the bottom, who have no sick leave, no choice in their shifts, no freedom to run over to the school if a child is sick...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:45 PM
Friday, June 22, 2012
( 8:02 PM ) The Rat
FIRST IT WAS CARMAGGEDON, NOW IT'S THE RAMPTURE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:02 PM
( 6:47 PM ) The Rat
"IF WE ALL WENT THROUGH JUST ONE MORE +106 DEGREE DAY OF EPIC SUFFERING. AH... THE GOOD OLD DAYS!" Western States starts at 5 AM tomorrow! For Gordy Ainsleigh's "Inventing 100-Mile Trail Racing," go here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM
( 6:30 PM ) The Rat
FROM THE 'I MAY HAVE UNDERESTIMATED ZELDA' FILES. Jeffrey Meyers in Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Heritage.
The title of the book comes from Ecclesiastes, the epigraph from Gertrude Stein, and the characters from recognizable people: Ford Madox Ford, Lady Duff Twysden and Harold Loeb—who sent out word that he was searching for Hemingway with a gun. It was published in October 1926, five months after 'The Torrents of Spring,' and received a mixed critical reception. But Malcolm Cowley soon discovered that Hemingway's influence was spreading far beyond Paris. College girls 'were modelling themselves after Lady Brett.... Bright young men from the Middle West were trying to be Hemingway heroes, talking in tough understatements from the sides of their mouths.' Two minor dissenters from the public acclaim were Hemingway's mother, who called it 'one of the filthiest books of the year,' and Zelda Fitzgerald, who said it was about 'Bullfighting, bullslinging and bullshitting.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:30 PM
( 4:38 PM ) The Rat
MILES DAVIS: now available in first-class-stamp form.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:38 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2012
( 9:56 PM ) The Rat
QUIRKY HATS AT THE ROYAL ASCOT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:56 PM
( 9:55 PM ) The Rat
As we passed New Cross Station, Crome said:
"If there's anything you want to ask me about the case, pray do so."
"You have not, I presume, a description of the dead girl?"
"She was twenty-three years of age, engaged as a waitress at the Ginger Cat café—"
"Pas ça. I wondered—if she were pretty?"
"As to that I've no information," said Inspector Crome with a hint of withdrawal. His manner said: "Really—these foreigners! All the same!"
A faint look of amusement came into Poirot's eyes.
"It does not seem to you important, that? Yet, pour une femme, it is of the first importance. Often it decides her destiny!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 PM
( 3:52 PM ) The Rat
STUDYING AND LIVING JEWISH-ASIAN INTERMARRIAGE.
Mr. Leavitt, a dean and teacher at Whitman, said he was struck by the comity even within the close, intense confines of family. "Just thinking about Jewish concerns about marrying outside of Judaism," he said, "I went into this project expecting more examples of 'My in-laws didn't talk to me for five years' or 'They won't come to my house.' Very, very few of those. Even when we asked explicitly about those concerns, people had to stretch for examples."
Predictably, the Zuckerberg-Chan wedding did set off some Jewish hand-wringing about how the tribe had "lost" him. The research by Ms. Kim and Mr. Leavitt, though, showed that, if anything, it is Asian heritage that loses in such marriages. Jewish ethnic identity and Judaic religious practice characterized most of the 31 intermarried couples they studied in depth, even though only five Asian-American spouses converted. The Jewish attachment seemed to deepen for those couples who had children.
"If you want to instill Jewish identity, you have resources available that may not be equivalent on the Asian-American side," Ms. Kim said. "You have synagogues, day schools, J.C.C.'s, a text you can go to. And for a number of Asian folks in the second generation—and I can relate to this—they don't know how to instill ethnic identity because they aren't confident in their own sense of it."
The early adopters in the realm of Asian-Jewish marriage included the jazz musicians Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi (1969) and the television personalities Maury Povich and Connie Chung (1984). The best statistical evidence for the trend appears in a research paper published in 2000 by Colleen Fong and Judy Yung. They found that more than 18 percent of marriages by Chinese- and Japanese-Americans were to American Jews—who constitute about 2 percent of the nation's population.
Whatever the frequency of such marriages, the visibility of them has soared. Well before Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan exchanged vows, there emerged such intermarried power couples as Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, both Harvard Law School professors, and Amy Chua of "Tiger Mom" fame and Jed Rubenfeld, her colleague at Yale Law School. The late star of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, was married to Dechen Wangdu, an activist for Tibetan independence.
"When we talked about choosing couples for diversity," Mr. Leavitt recalled, "we looked at different parts of the country, different Asian ethnic groups, different religions for the Asian-American spouse. The one thing we didn't see at all was diversity of education level or income level. Graduate degrees, advanced degrees, professional tracks were all very common"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:52 PM
( 2:51 PM ) The Rat
"...BECAUSE 'IT WAS SOMETHING HE WANTED TO DO,'" via MR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:51 PM
( 2:29 PM ) The Rat
"MOVING THE MOAI WAS A LITTLE BIT LIKE PLAYING A FOOTBALL GAME."
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 PM
( 12:47 PM ) The Rat
DEAR PARIS REVIEW, WHAT BOOKS IMPRESS A GIRL? The Beauty Myth, seriously?!
Books/authors, an interest in or remarks upon which have at least gotten my attention (this is neither a chronological nor a comprehensive list...): Notes from the House of the Dead, Mann, Ian Fleming, Freud (look, I was really young), Akhmatova, Mandelstam. Romain Rolland in the original will work for 3 to 3-1/2 dates, if you have actually lived in France and are fluent. As for Didion—I had a roommate who was into Didion and I'm not even sure that's OK in a roommate.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:47 PM
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
( 6:11 PM ) The Rat
GIANT TURTLES DIVORCE AFTER 115 YEARS TOGETHER, via Wait Wait.
According to the paper, zoo staff realized something was amiss when Bibi bit off a chunk of her partner's shell. When the attacks continued, Poldi was moved to another cage.
Animal experts even attempted couples' counseling—feeding the turtles aphrodisiacs and encouraging them to play games together...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:11 PM
( 11:47 AM ) The Rat
Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who'll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong house, that's what it means.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:47 AM
( 10:57 AM ) The Rat
SCIENTISTS SEE NO EVIDENCE FOR INCLUDING CANCER CASES IN 9/11 PAYOUTS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:57 AM
( 10:56 AM ) The Rat
I wanted to accomplish what the diver had done. I wanted to use the Western States to prove to the Northern Californians and other ultra-distance hotshots that I was worthy of their fraternity. To prove to myself that I was worthy. I knew it would be difficult. Twietmeyer had come back and reclaimed his crown in 1998. But now that I knew the rewards of pain, I wanted more pain. I wanted to use it as a tool to pry myself open.
—Scott Jurek, Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:56 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
( 8:51 AM ) The Rat
LONDON ARCHITECTURE IN MOTION. A good time to make use of your mute button, though.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:51 AM
Monday, June 18, 2012
( 9:54 PM ) The Rat
"AH, THERE YOU ARE AGAIN, STACY CHAMBERS..." via ATIAC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:54 PM
( 8:07 PM ) The Rat
WHERE CHILDREN SLEEP: PORTRAITS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 PM
Sunday, June 17, 2012
( 7:28 AM ) The Rat
CUTE GOOGLE DOODLE TODAY!
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 AM
( 7:27 AM ) The Rat
U.S. OLYMPIC UNIFORMS COULD SHAVE TIME OFF.
The added texture might seem counterintuitive, but the company studied the aerodynamics of golf balls and found the textures and dimples make it more efficient. Patterned patches are on the forearm and leg, the fastest-moving parts of the body...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 AM
( 6:43 AM ) The Rat
"THIS GLORIOUSLY DEMENTED PIECE..." Just discovered: Cziffra plays my longtime favorite, the Op. 7 Toccata, about which more here ("[U]nless you have tried playing this piece, you can't imagine the pain...").
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:43 AM
( 5:47 AM ) The Rat
She could not say why these rather inconspicuous green slopes had so touched her heart, when along the railway line there were mountains, lakes, the sea, at times even clouds dyed in sentimental colors. But perhaps their melancholy green, and the melancholy evening shadows of the ridges across them, had brought on the pain. Then too, they were small, well-groomed slopes with deeply shaded ridges, not nature in the wild; and the rows of rounded tea bushes looked like flocks of gentle green sheep.
—Beauty and Sadness
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:47 AM
( 5:45 AM ) The Rat
WALLENDA WALKS THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW ACROSS NIAGARA FALLS, predictably reminding me of the epigraph to this.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:45 AM
( 5:36 AM ) The Rat
'Maybe I did not live as I ought to have done,' it suddenly occurred to him. 'But how could that be, when I did everything properly?' he replied, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sole solution of all the riddles of life and death, as something quite impossible.
—The Death of Ivan Ilyich
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:36 AM
( 1:45 AM ) The Rat
"UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE IDEALS MAY NOT MATCH EXPERIENCE..." Can Romance Heal Childhood Traumas?
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:45 AM
( 1:29 AM ) The Rat
LIVING INSIDE A BOEING 727 LOCATED WITHIN OREGON FOREST, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:29 AM
Saturday, June 16, 2012
( 10:41 PM ) The Rat
"41% OF AMERICANS SPEND MOST OF THEIR VACATION BUDGETS ON OBLIGATIONS," and other things I don't understand about this country.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
( 7:29 PM ) The Rat
10,000 GERM SPECIES LIVE IN AND ON HEALTHY PEOPLE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:29 PM
( 7:18 PM ) The Rat
WHILE I QUITE LIKE "HYMN 101" (lyrics here) and (in certain contexts...) also quite like NPR, the top comment here makes me want to track down the author, and the 12 people who "recommended" her comment, and punch all of them in the face.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 PM
( 9:05 AM ) The Rat
CHINA FORBIDS INTERNATIONAL TOURISM TO TIBET INDEFINITELY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 AM
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
( 1:50 PM ) The Rat
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:50 PM
( 1:24 PM ) The Rat
SHOES REALLY DO MAKE THE PERSON, via Manolo.
While some of the clues like the ones already described were obvious, other clues were more surprising.
Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people, ankle boots fit with more aggressive personalities and uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities.
Participants were able to most accurately judge a person's age, gender and income followed by their emotional stability and agreeableness.
In psychology, emotional stability is an umbrella term that includes a person's fear of abandonment, rejection issues and the ability to handle different kinds of relationships.
People with "attachment anxiety" or people that were most worried about their relationships generally had brand new and well-kept shoes. Researchers suggest that this may be because they worry so much about their appearance and what others may think of them.
Not surprisingly, liberal thinkers, who many think of as flip-flop wearing hippies, wear shabbier and less expensive shoes...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:24 PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
( 8:39 PM ) The Rat
CARTOONIST TURNS LAWSUIT THREAT INTO $100K CHARITY FUNDRAISER.
But oddly enough, the folks behind FunnyJunk decided they wanted to revisit the whole situation, almost exactly a year later. Inman discovered this when someone knocked on his door to serve him with papers about a week ago. "It was 8 p.m.—I was having a sushi-making night," Inman explained. The owner of FunnyJunk was threatening to file a federal lawsuit unless Inman paid $20,000 in damages.
"Is it going to get worse," Inman wondered. He consulted a lawyer and sat on the letter for about a week before finally posting it online, along with his rebuttal and an explanation of what he'll do. (His lawyer also mailed a formal reply to FunnyJunk's representative as well, of course.)
"I don't want to get tied up in courtroom nonsense. I don't want to pay more money to my lawyer," Inman declared in that blog post. He outlined why he believed that it was silly that FunnyJunk is demanding money "for hosting [his] unlicensed comics […] for the past three years."
"I've got a better idea," he wrote. "I'm going to try and raise $20,000 in donations. I'm going to take a photo of the raised money. I'm going to mail you that photo, along with this drawing of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear. I'm going to take the money and donate one half to the National Wildlife Federation and the other half to the American Cancer Society."
Inman dubbed his response "Operation BearLove Good Cancer Bad" and gave it a 15-day deadline. He announced it on Monday, at about 1 p.m. PT. About one hour later, he'd met the $20,000 fundraising goal. About 24 hours later, he'd raised over $117,000 with donations coming from over 8,000 people...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:39 PM
( 2:26 PM ) The Rat
JAPANESE AGENCY SAYS RADIATION IS LIKE AN ANGRY WIFE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:26 PM
Monday, June 11, 2012
( 10:50 AM ) The Rat
CITIES THAT SPOIL THEIR KIDS THE MOST, via IKM. Not sure how Minneapolis and St. Paul got ranked so far apart from each other?!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM
( 10:45 AM ) The Rat
"I HAVE NO ANECDATA IN REVERSE—WHERE THE MALE WAS THE TRAILING SPOUSE AND ADJUNCT FOR LIFE."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
( 10:45 PM ) The Rat
BARRY DOUGLAS plays the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 27. This piece makes you wish you knew someone like it.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 PM
( 10:33 PM ) The Rat
This is my report on the importance of knowing how to read... If you can't read, and you get a love letter, you won't know what it says. That would be very sad. Although, in the long run, it also could save you a lot of trouble.
—Sally, Peanuts, March 30, 1984
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 PM
( 2:04 PM ) The Rat
AWW... via Postsecret.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:04 PM
Saturday, June 09, 2012
( 2:44 PM ) The Rat
"IT RAINED ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE IN PARIS SO WE SAT UNDER AN AWNING AT AN OUTDOOR CAFÉ, AND HAD LUNCH..." Go here and zoom in on the Peanuts strip.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:44 PM
( 12:37 PM ) The Rat
"LIFE CAN BE VERY EXCITING WHEN YOU HAVE CHOICES." Go here and scroll to 1983-10-21.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:37 PM
( 10:58 AM ) The Rat
PHOTOGRAPHS from Brian Skerry's Ocean Soul. My favorite is no. 17, of course.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:58 AM
Friday, June 08, 2012
( 10:23 PM ) The Rat
NATIONAL TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO THE RANGE DAY, via SJ.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 PM
( 1:03 PM ) The Rat
"LEST YOU TOO FIND YOURSELF ON THE WRONG SIDE OF A BALTIMORE ORIOLES COMPARISON." David McCullough's Commencement speech at Wellesley High has been making the rounds, but here it is in case you haven't seen it yet.
Seriously though, "Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly"? In the age of Facebook—what is he, nuts?
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:03 PM
Thursday, June 07, 2012
( 9:55 PM ) The Rat
"IF ANYTHING, BRADBURY WAS SUSPICIOUS OF THE FUTURE, AND SENTIMENTAL ABOUT THE PAST..." The Telegraph obit for Ray Bradbury is here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 PM
( 9:32 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:32 PM
( 6:35 PM ) The Rat
WANT A 9 PERCENT RAISE? HIT THE GYM. Hmm.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM
( 8:56 AM ) The Rat
MELTING ICE CREAM TRUCK, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:56 AM
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
( 8:48 AM ) The Rat
HEE! Via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 AM
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
( 3:26 PM ) The Rat
BABIES' BRAINS BENEFIT FROM MUSIC LESSONS, EVEN BEFORE THEY CAN WALK AND TALK.
One music class involved interactive music-making and learning a small set of lullabies, nursery rhymes and songs with actions. Parents and infants worked together to learn to play percussion instruments, take turns and sing specific songs.
In the other music class, infants and parents played at various toy stations while recordings from the popular "Baby Einstein" series played in the background.
Before the classes began, all the babies had shown similar communication and social development and none had previously participated in other baby music classes.
"Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music," says Trainor. "Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones."
The non-musical differences between the two groups of babies were even more surprising, say researchers.
Babies from the interactive classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Socially, these babies also smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn't go their way...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:26 PM
( 3:24 PM ) The Rat
MAN SUES HOSPITAL FOR IGNORING HIS PROLONGED ERECTION, via MR. Note the byline.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:24 PM
( 1:48 PM ) The Rat
ARTIST PAYS HOMAGE TO L.A.'S UNSEEN WORKERS.
Recently, the 25-year-old tried his luck outside the Beverly Hills Hotel.
He propped a housekeeper named Ana against a hedge near the entrance. She stood facing forward, clutching her purse with both hands. Within a day she had been removed by hotel staff.
When President Obama came to town for a fundraiser at George Clooney's home in Studio City, Gomez installed four gardeners wielding a giant water hose a few blocks away. He was soon ordered to remove them by the Secret Service.
Most pieces last a day or two if Gomez is lucky. Once, a valet parker he planted outside a lot near the Sunset Strip made it four days...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:48 PM
( 1:32 PM ) The Rat
"WHERE'S THE ZIPPER? OR IS IT A BATTERY COMPARTMENT? AN ON/OFF SWITCH? WHAT DO YOU HAVE?" via ATIAC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:32 PM
( 9:33 AM ) The Rat
A GUIDE TO A TRADITIONAL TAIWANESE BREAKFAST, via WC. I love that this is 21 images long.
Yes, it literally means wife cake. Though the story behind this pastry is ambiguous (has something to do with a lovesick couple), the ingredients are pretty standard. According to Tsang, it is filled with egg, milk, and butter.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 AM
( 9:05 AM ) The Rat
STUXNET'S ORIGINS DECODED: NOW WE KNOW WHO DID IT, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
A curious thing about Stuxnet is that commentators often discussed it as "cyberwar," yet few, if any, governments behaved as if the Stuxnet attack constituted an act of war...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 AM
( 8:07 AM ) The Rat
MARRIAGE IS FOR LIARS, indirectly via TG.
We stand together on the marriage altar, and we begin the most important relationship of our lives with a terrible lie. We say, "For better or worse." But we don't really mean it. If we were to be honest with ourselves, if we were to begin the marriage authentically, most of us would say, "I have a bunch of needs which have never been satisfied in my relationships. Today, in front of our friends and family, I’m publicly gambling that you will be the person to finally meet those needs. If you do, I will be happy, and I will try to make you happy. If you don't, well, God help us…"
Not so long ago, as my wife was ambushing me with her brilliance and her beauty and our kids were still beyond imagining, I was a young, eager, graduate student and researcher at Penn State University. And I was determined to unearth the secrets to marital bliss. More than one hundred couples participated in my dissertation research, and I watched hundreds of hours of videotaped arguments between spouses who had been married for less than a year.
And I was shocked by what I observed.
Although the marriages had just begun—the taste of wedding cake had barely faded from their tongues—the conversations revealed that every spouse was already blaming their partner for inflicting deep wounds upon them. I was confused and intrigued. These were newlywed couples—the lifespan of the marriage was too short to have already produced the depth of wounds these spouses were ascribing to each other. So what was going on?
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 AM
Monday, June 04, 2012
( 10:52 AM ) The Rat
CHINA MUZZLES ONLINE TALK OF TIANANMEN ANNIVERSARY. Also go here for the quintessential dog-bites-man headline.
Terms blocked by Sina Weibo included the Chinese characters for "Tiananmen," "square," and "candle," and even seemingly innocuous words like "today"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM
( 10:51 AM ) The Rat
'NAPALM GIRL' EMBRACES FORGIVENESS, via JM.
Phuc spent 14 months in a hospital. Ultimately, she would endure 17 surgeries over 12 years.
She discussed the subsequent struggles to make sense of the ordeal.
"Because of the scars on my body and my left arm, I didn't feel pretty," she said. "I was certain nobody would ever love me or marry me or that I would have a normal life."
At 19, Phuc was in a library where she picked up a Bible.
She soon became a Christian and began embracing spiritual principles such as gratitude and forgiveness.
"I had to stop asking, 'Why me?' and start asking God to help me," said Phuc, a wife and mother of two boys. "I learned that God has a purpose in my life... I learned that in order to be free I had to learn to forgive."
The struggle to forgive those responsible for the bombing took years. "I had to pray a lot," she said.
Phuc held up a clear glass filled with coffee to the congregation, saying the coffee was the color of her heart, "filled with anger, and hatred and bitterness."
Phuc slowly poured the coffee out until the glass was empty.
"He (God) filled it with light, peace, hope, joy, compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness," she said. "The more I prayed for my enemies, the softer my heart became... It was the hardest work of my life, but I did it"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:51 AM
Sunday, June 03, 2012
( 11:09 PM ) The Rat
ANGER IN DISPUTES IS MORE ABOUT THE CLIMATE OF THE MARRIAGE THAN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT. Interesting.
How good are married couples at recognizing each other's emotions during conflicts? In general, pretty good, according to a study by a Baylor University researcher. But if your partner is angry, that might tell more about the overall climate of your marriage than about what your partner is feeling at the moment of the dispute.
What's more, "if your partner is angry, you are likely to miss the fact that your partner might also be feeling sad," said Keith Sanford, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences. His study—"The Communication of Emotion During Conflict in Married Couples"—is published online in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Family Psychology.
"I found that people were most likely to express anger, not in the moments where they felt most angry, but rather in the situations where both partners had been feeling angry over a period of time," he said. "This means that if a couple falls into a climate of anger, they tend to continue expressing anger regardless of how they actually feel... It becomes a kind of a trap they cannot escape."
Common spats that might fester deal with in-laws, chores, money, affection and time spent on the computer.
Sanford found that when people express anger, they often also feel sad. But while a partner will easily and immediately recognize expressions of anger, the spouse often will fail to notice the sadness...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:09 PM
( 10:20 PM ) The Rat
"VANILLA HAS NO TASTE AT ALL." Wacky.
Also via ScienceDaily: Does dinner make a strong family, or does a strong family make dinner? and TV Viewing Can Decrease Self-Esteem in Children, Except White Boys.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:20 PM
( 6:06 PM ) The Rat
THE LONG GOODBYE, PT. 1, via TT.
From the end of December, when I returned to New York, to the beginning of May, not a day went by without my thinking of my mother's death. At first I thought about it constantly, taking for granted that it would happen in a matter of weeks and—yes—at what I assumed would be an impossibly inconvenient moment for me. (Shame! shame! I told myself, unable to repress the selfish thought and unwilling to acknowledge, much less accept, that everyone thinks such unworthy things at one time or another.) But she didn't die, and I got used to the idea that she might cling to life for an unknowable amount of time, and that every day she stayed alive would be a day of suffering, not only for her but for all those who knew her best and loved her most. Dostoevsky said it: "Man gets used to everything—the beast!"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:06 PM
Saturday, June 02, 2012
( 9:36 PM ) The Rat
THE COUNTRIES WITH THE 10 BIGGEST ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTS PER PERSON, via Outside.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:36 PM
( 6:22 PM ) The Rat
"IT WAS AS IF A LIGHT HAD BEEN NOOKD..." via JWB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:22 PM
( 11:37 AM ) The Rat
ONCE-CENSORED WWII DOCUMENTARY SHATTERS CLICHES, via ET.
My father likes to tell a story about the men living on the railroad tracks where he grew up in central Connecticut. When he was boy, he often rode the tracks on his bike and came across what he thought were "hobos" along the way.
He was surprised when my grandfather, a World War II Army veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, ruefully told him they were veterans. In essence, they never came home from the war, he told his son, a child of the New Frontier who had grown up on John Wayne celluloid depictions of the war, snug in the can-do image of boom and fortitude reflected in the monochromatic images provided by Hollywood and Madison Avenue. There was no room for misfits or traumatized veterans in this American Dream. So they were easily marginalized and forgotten by society, at least in our town, there on the tracks.
As it turns out, not only were they not alone, but there were big hospitals (or in old-fashioned speak, sanitariums) for the thousands of men who returned from World War II with what the old timers called "shell shock" and we know now as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That there was a high rate of "psychotic neurosis" among those vets is no surprise considering the scope and violence of the war, which claimed some 500,000 American lives. That society had nearly airbrushed them out of our contemporary understanding of post-World War II American life is extraordinary...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:37 AM
( 11:27 AM ) The Rat
THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF THE NATIONAL SPELLING BEE. I am so, so glad my district was against these things.
In 1998, Justin Warner (fatal word: "tarpaulin") empathized as his fellow competitors folded.
"Watching kids put so much emotion in to what is essentially a game really affected my personal growth," said the proprietor of Brooklyn, New York's much-lauded Do or Dine restaurant and a current contestant on The Next Food Network Star. "There were plenty of kids that were there to have a good time and rock out some serious spelling, but there were also plenty that seemed like they were going to be eliminated from society as opposed to a game. Hanging out in the 'Kiss and Cry' room after being eliminated was so sad to me, not because I was eliminated early but because there were so many crying kids!"
That fabled place, officially labeled the "Comfort Room," is no longer a cookie-and-lemonade-laden refuge for tearstained spellers. Not because the need was lessened and the current crop of competitors are automatons; rather, Scripps spokeswoman (and Bee vet) Kara Hadge says, "We just ran out of room"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:27 AM
Friday, June 01, 2012
( 10:18 PM ) The Rat
"OKAY, SERIOUSLY, I'VE GOT A PILATES CLASS AT 3."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:18 PM
( 10:16 PM ) The Rat
On the way to the bathroom, I ask Stephen to bring me another vodka. He forgets and I drink more wine. As I finally catch a gentle buzz, I look around the table and wonder how on earth I ended up here. Nights like these are for other people, people like Kat and Noah who—with their Ivy League degrees and supportive families—seem born for toasts and congratulations.
—Bill Clegg, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:16 PM