Friday, April 30, 2010

People's Garden of New York City

To Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

We, the undersigned people of New York City, respectfully request that a vegetable garden be planted in front of City Hall.

This garden will represent New Yorkers’ commitment to education, public service, healthy eating, and environmental stewardship. This garden will be tended by NYC public school students, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and our region’s talented gardeners and farmers. The harvest will be donated to a nearby food pantry to feed the hungry.

This garden will represent the vision of a more sustainable, livable City for all New Yorkers, and will contribute to achieving the intents of PLANYC by 2030.

City Hall vegetation in Baltimore and San Francisco:

related: Magnificent Urban Gardens

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Imaginary Foundation's "Make A Difference" flyer

from BoingBoing

I love this little piece of street art/provocation. Our co-conspirators at Imaginary Foundation posted a PDF at the Imaginary Foundation blog. "Make A Difference"
Download the pdf HERE.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Apollo 11 launch revisited
in slow-mo HD glory

This clip is raw from Camera E-8 on the launch umbilical tower/mobile launch program of Apollo 11, July 16, 1969. This is an HD transfer from the 16mm original.


Above: HD footage of the first 30 seconds of the Apollo 11 launch slowed down and analyzed as an 8-minute video.
Thanks, Xeni at BoingBoing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amazing Rare Footage of the Avengers !

Punk Rock 101 - This was one of the earliest punk bands led by a female vocalist stateside (the incredible Penelope Houston). Everyone who was into punk in the 70's loved, at least the song "The American in Me".

from DangerousMinds:
Ah, Avengers! Led by art student Penelope Houston, the San-Francisco-based band opened, of course, for The Sex Pistols during that final, disastrous show at Winterland. And, yeah, maybe his band was imploding, but Steve Jones liked what he saw. The Pistols’ guitarist went on to produce the band’s first EP, which, IMO sounds far more ferocious than their still glorious (and still out-of-print) full-length, Avengers.

The clarity of the following clips—both of them, gulp, 32-years-old—is absolutely astounding. I’m assuming the first one’s from SF, but the second one takes place at LA’s legendary Masque. Click play, watch, repeat!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The New Age of Travel: Blimps and Beyond

from the New York Times "Room for Debate" blogs:

The Icelandic volcano that disrupted global air travel last week raised a concern: should we be thinking of alternative ways to move masses of people and goods? Scientists warn that more eruptions may cause new turmoil in the months ahead, a prospect that has generated discussion of future — even futuristic — modes of transportation.

Can anything replace the plane? If so, what is exciting to dream about, while waiting in the airport departure lounge?
[Check out the opinions of these folks:]
Kat Hannaford,
Simon Winchester, author of “Krakatoa”
Mark Frauenfelder, founder of
Robert Poole, Reason Foundation

This is the latest animation by design and innovation company Seymourpowell of its visionary transportation concept, Aircruise - a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travellers in style and luxury.
Originally a self-generated project, Seymourpowell's Aircruise is the concept design for a hotel in the sky, with low passenger numbers and huge internal spaces offering room for living, dining and relaxing, as well as scope for dramatic and inspirational public spaces. The initial design proposes a bar/lounge zone, four duplex apartments, a penthouse and five smaller apartments.
The concept subsequently captured the imagination of Korean giant Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T). Driven by its interest in new materials for building, Samsung C&T appointed Seymourpowell to refine the idea and produce a detailed computer animation of the proposed experience to illustrate this visionary approach to the future.

here's another :

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Leadership 101: How to Command Respect Through Body Language

from Inside CRM
Some people are the center of attention wherever they go. They’re not glamorous movie stars, just ordinary people with excellent command over their body language. Here are some pointers to help you emulate these confident people and command respect from those around you.

Improve your standing…

Posture can say a lot about a person. Confident people seem to naturally stand tall, while those who slouch look like they’re down on themselves. Be sure that you’re presenting yourself in a way that commands respect.

What to do:

1. Stand tall, even if you’re the shortest person in the room. Keeping your shoulders pushed back will lend you an air of confidence.
2. Spread your weight evenly on both feet instead of leaning on one. You don’t need to stand at perfect attention, just keep your feet apart so you balance well.
3. Take your hands out of your pockets, or you may be seen like you’ve got something to hide. Hold them loosely by your side.
4. Stand with your arms crossed behind your back. Your shoulders will get pulled back automatically.

What not to do:

5. Don’t stand with your hands on your hips if you don’t want to come across as confrontational.
6. Don’t shuffle your feet. Pick your feet up and move like you know where you’re going.
7. Don’t fidget with your feet. Drawing patterns with one foot on the floor shows you’re not interested in what’s going on.
8. Don’t lean against walls or tables. You’ll appear tired and lazy.
9. Don’t turn away from the person you’re talking to in the middle of the conversation, otherwise you’ll show you’re not interested in continuing it.

Eye contact…

When holding a conversation, the person you’re speaking with should focus on your eyes. They indicate your emotions and can show whether you’re paying attention or not. Be considerate of what your eyes tell about you: show others respect and you’ll get respect in return.

What to do:

10. Look directly at the person you are talking to in order to exude confidence.

What not to do:

11. Don’t shift your attention to other people or things in the room. It shows deceit.
12. Be careful not to glare at the person talking to you. You may think you look intensely interested, but you just look mad.
13. Don’t blink excessively. People will be distracted and wonder if there’s something wrong with you.
14. If you wear glasses, don’t look over the rim. It makes you look condescending.
15. Never wear sunglasses inside, especially during a meeting. Others will wonder if you have something to hide.
16. Don’t look at your watch unless you want to appear as if you’re in a rush.
17. Don’t rub your eyes with your hands: it signals disbelief at the situation.
18. When you pinch the bridge of your nose with your eyes closed, you’ll come across in a negative manner.
19. Keeping your eyes on the door will show that you’re ready to leave the room.

Sitting pretty…

Your posture while sitting is just as important as standing. Your level of interest in a conversation can be easily read by the position you sit in. Be careful to position yourself in a way that shows you’re powerful and actively engaged in what others have to say.

What to do:

20. Sit straight so that your shoulders touch the back of your chair. Slouching promotes the image of laziness.
21. Rest your hands on the arms of your chair, place them on your knees, or fold them on your lap so that they are not a distraction.
22. Make sure your chair is positioned so you’re facing the person you’re talking to. This will show that you’re engaged in what they are saying.
23. Lean slightly forward to appear interested in a conversation and stress what you’re saying.

What not to do:

24. Don’t cross your ankles. Some people think it’s a sign that you’ve got something to hide. Sit withyour feet on the floor to minimize distractions.
25. Don’t tilt your chair back so that it’s standing on two legs. This shows a very casual, laid back attitude and does not earn you respect. You also run the risk of looking silly when you accidentally fall backwards.
26. Don’t cross your arms across your body. You may come across as disinterested.
27. Stretching your legs out shows you’re too relaxed and may also invade others’ personal space.
28. Never put your feet up on the desk in front of you. You don’t want to come across as condescending.
29. Ladies, be cautious when crossing your legs. If you’ll expose things that are better left to the imagination, refrain from doing so.

Heading for victory…

The position of your head, the frequency of your breaths, even yawning are indicators of your level of interest in a conversation. Take care to avoid looking as if you’re bored or disinterested. If you seem to be involved in what others have to say, they will naturally offer the same to you and build mutual respect.

What to do:

30. Tilting your head to one side during a conversation shows you’re interested and thinking about what’s being said.
31. Take regular, even breaths. Heavy breaths are a sure sign that you’re nervous.
32. Be sure to nod your head so the person you’re speaking with knows you’re listening and interested.

What not to do:

33. Massaging your temples shows you’re either at your wits’ end or that you have a severe headache.
34. Don’t swallow too often; it gives away the fact that you’re not comfortable with the situation.
35. Yawning is an involuntary sign from your body saying that your brain’s bored. You may not havemuch control over it, but yawning in the middle of a conversation will give away the fact that you’d rather be somewhere else.
36. A blank face conveys either disinterest or a lack of understanding.

Walking into the limelight…

Carrying yourself in a confident manner is key to commanding respect. Give the impression that you’re walking with a purpose so that you’ll be admired by others.

What to do:

37. Walk, don’t run. Take even strides.
38. Look ahead or in front of you, not at the floor when you walk.

What not to do:

39. Don’t walk with a swagger; it indicates that you’re cocky and have an attitude.
40. Be careful not to shove people aside as you move across a crowded place: no one respects a rude person.
41. Similarly, avoid stepping on others’ toes.

Win, hands down…

Hand gestures are great for getting attention or making a point, but be sure that you’re not creating a distraction. You want attention to be on your eyes and face while speaking, not on what your hands are doing. Command respect and control the interest of the conversation by keeping your hands in check.

What to do:

42. Open, face-up palms signal honesty and straightforwardness.
43. Gesturing with your arms can help you make a point, but don’t do so much that it’s distracting.
44. When you stroke your chin, it shows you’re trying to make a decision. Be sure that you want others to know that’s what you’re doing.
45. Making a steeple out of your hands makes a good impression, as it demonstrates confidence.
46. Shake hands firmly: not too tight or too limp. You don’t want to crush the other person’s hands or come across as unsure of yourself.
47. If the situation calls for paperwork, be sure to keep your papers in order with easy access to avoid looking disorganized.
48. Make sure your palms are clean and dry. Sweaty palms indicate nervousness and are a turn off for most people.
49. If you’re trying to convince someone of your sincerity, touch your open palm to your heart.
50. Rolling up your sleeves signals a casual, get-down-to-work attitude. Roll them up or down according to the situation.
51. Removing your tie, top button, or jacket to indicate you’re getting comfortable in your surroundings.

What not to do:

52. Don’t clench your fists. You’ll come off as aggressive.
53. Never point at someone, be it the person talking to you or anyone else in the room. It’s rude.
54. Don’t play or fidget with your mobile phone when someone’s talking to you. It shows avoidance and a lack of interest.
55. Don’t wring your hands: it signals despair.
56. Don’t scratch your head. You’ll come across as being unsure of yourself.
57. Don’t touch your nose, play with your hair, or rub your eyes when you’re being asked for an honest answer. They’re all signs that say you’re lying.
58. Don’t tap your fingers on a table or arms of a chair; you’ll seem anxious.
59. Don’t run your fingers through your hair. It shows frustration.
60. Don’t doodle on the notepad in front of you, as this indicates boredom.
61. Closing an open mouth with your hands shows you’re shocked at what’s been said or what you’ve seen.
62. Never bite your nails. It will make you seem nervous.
63. Don’t fidget with objects lying on the table in front of you.
64. Don’t chew on a pencil or pen when talking to someone. It’s unattractive and distracting.
65. Don’t sit with your palms on your cheeks. It shows you’re deep in thought about something else.
66. Don’t clench the arms of your chair or your handbag too tightly. You’ll portray yourself as nervous.
67. Don’t rub your hands together: it shows you’re too eager.
68. Avoid a two-handed handshake. It’s usually connected to politicians who are not very sincere.
69. Do not wipe your palms on your clothing. Use a handkerchief instead.
70. If you pull at your ear, you may indicate that you’re lying.
71. Don’t shake your fists at someone, as it is extremely aggressive.
72. Clenched fists raised in the air will indicate that you’re overjoyed or thrilled. Avoid doing this when situations call for restraint.

A matter of manners…

Practicing common courtesy is a basis for earning respect from others. If you’re rude, people will avoid talking and working with you. Be polite to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

What to do:

73. When you need to offer comfort, a one-armed squeeze, gentle hug, or a pat on the shoulder helps, depending on how close you are to the other person.
74. Open doors and allow others to walk before you.
75. Cough and sneeze into your hands or a handkerchief, not into the face of the people around you.

What not to do:

76. A handshake that goes on for an extended period of time may be considered inappropriate.
77. Ruffling someone’s hair may seem like you’re being genuinely affectionate, but in a formal setting, it suggests you’re being condescending.
78. Don’t shout when you’re on the phone. Talk in a calm, volume-controlled voice.
79. Don’t huddle into a corner with your mobile phone while in a crowd of people. Get out and mingle instead. Keep your private conversations for a time when you’re alone.
80. Don’t mock someone’s mannerisms when you think they’re not watching.
81. Avoid taking a phone call when you’re in the middle of a discussion.
82. If you have a cold, don’t blow your nose loudly in public.
83. Never wipe your nose with your hands or sleeves.
84. Don’t scratch your itches, not matter how much you’re tempted to. You’ll make people wonder if you have a rash.
85. Don’t multi-task in the middle of a conversation. It doesn’t show dexterity, only callousness.
86. Don’t slam doors, no matter how angry you are.
87. Don’t snap or clap your hands to call someone over.
88. Don’t burp/belch loudly in public.
89. Don’t lick your lips too often. You may jut be wetting them, but it indicates nervousness, or worse, sexual aggression.
90. Don’t make faces or stick your tongue out behind someone’s back. It’s childish and rude.

Take a good look at yourself…

Carefully examining the way you present yourself can help you discover areas in which you may need improvement. Carefully groom your mannerisms and outward appearance to make your best impression and command respect.

What to do:

91. Practice your mannerisms in front of a mirror so that you can discover your weak areas.
92. Additionally, try videotaping your actions so you can find out where you’re going wrong.
93. Look at others who command respect and imitate their actions.
94. Look good. You don’t have to be conventionally handsome or beautiful; it’s enough to dress neatly in clothes that suit both you and the occasion.
95. Smell good. Use deodorant and perfume, but go easy on it. You don’t want to overpower the room with your scent.
96. Keep your fingernails clean. Close cropped nails show you’re neat and orderly, but if you prefer to wear them long, make sure they’re groomed neatly.
97. Wear footwear that allows you to walk comfortably to avoid making a fool of yourself.
98. Keep your work area and personal space neat and tidy. Avoid clutter and dust.

What not to do:

99. Avoid revealing, dirty or wrinkled clothing.
100. Don’t wear too much makeup. Keep it to a minimum.

101. And last, but not least, always smile. Smiles are contagious. When you smile, others can’t help but smile back and feel positively towards you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Leilani Munter: Woman, Racecar Driver... Environmentalist?

First watch this great info slide show here on her site.

These facts are pretty incredible for a race car driver. The mission of Leilani's Eco Dream Team is to send powerful messages to the number one spectator sport in America, calling to action 100 million race fans in the US to make a difference by spreading environmental awareness about sustainable living alternatives, clean energy, alternative fuel vehicles, and environmental legislation. Additionally, Leilani hopes her efforts will encourage racing sanctioning bodies to increase their environmental initiatives with expanded recycling programs and the use of alternative fuels.

from Bleacher report via AutoRacingDaily:
In the 1960's and 1970's, women weren't even allowed in the garage and pit areas of NASCAR tracks.

Now we see women like Danica Patrick, Ashley Force and Chrissy Wallace breaking ground for females everywhere in all areas of motorsports.

But an environmentalist? In NASCAR?

For Leilani Munter, that's exactly what she's trying to do; become a green driver in a not so green sport.

Leilani Munter began in 2001, when she was racing in the Allison Legacy Series.

She's gone from there to late models, to giving driving lessons at Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track High Performance Driving School, and eventually to making a name for herself in the Indy Light Series.

In 2009, Munter is looking to make her return to NASCAR in the ARCA/REMAX Series, recently testing for James Hylton. Along with racing in ARCA, she'll also be competing with her Indy Lights "Eco Dream Team".

So, what is this "Eco Dream Team" all about?

Munter describes herself as a "Carbon Free Girl", a "vegetarian hippie chick race car driver" aspiring to be carbon neutral.

The mission is simple; get the over 75 million NASCAR fans, and over 40 million IndyCar fans to recycle. Munter's organization is also working with forward thinking companies and sponsors to spread an eco-friendly message to racing fans across the country.

Also working for the cause, Munter has made several visits to Capital Hill in an effort to have more economic friendly legislation passed.

IndyCar has been using ethanol since 2007- Ethanol also sponsored the Rahal Letterman car of Ryan Hunter-Reay last season.

It was the first ever national campaign for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

She's even made a PSA for the National Wildlife Foundation:

from Ecorazzi:
Eco Veggie Race Car Driver Leilani M√ľnter Offers Green Dietary Advice

Think it’s impossible for a race car driver to also be eco-obsesssed? Think again! Leilani Munter is an Indy Pro Series driver with a heart of green.

Besides being a super talented athlete, Leilani is serious about sustainable living and most recently teamed up with Athletes Go Green — a campaign to unite players, fans and teams in an effort to paint the sports world green in the days leading up to Earth Day.

Munter recorded a PSA for the initiative and discussed one of the easiest ways to go green. In the video, she says:

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that more greenhouse gas emissions go into our atmosphere from raising animals for food than all the planes, trains, ships, automobiles, SUVs and all other forms of transportation combined. Raising animals produce methane, which is 21 times more heating trapping than Co2. So if you wanna do something good for the environment that’s easy to do, cut back on your meat intake.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shepard Fairey installation on Houston St. NYC

I meant to go down for a half hour or so, but the scene kept me 'till sundown. Just wanted to drop by and say hello to Shepard and his crew, a few sun showers and 4 hours later i felt like i'd just been to some new hot gallery opening that focused on just one piece of art. I had a good time as did the family, and nearly everyone who walked by. There were some interesting folks, the usual East Villagers, graffiti artists, musicians, photographers, more than a few famous actors and everything else New York City always spits out... all just walking by. Shepard was doing this mural piece in conjunction with his new exhibition opening next weekend, MAY DAY, here in New York.

Check out this little video i made this evening with some of the stills and moving stuff i shot on my pocket digital earlier :

(Passers by, above, Michael "Kramer" Richards, and Dustin Hoffman)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ringo Starr Blows Off Vatican
Embrace of Beatles

Ringo Starr is saying “who cares” to the Vatican’s late embrace of The Beatles. Starr rolled his eyes at the Catholic Church, which praised the group and expressed forgiveness to John Lennon for his comments that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”
“Didn’t the Vatican say we were satanic?” Starr said during an interview with CNN. “And they still forgive us?”

“I think [the Vatican] has more to talk about than The Beatles,” he added, alluding to the child sex abuse scandal that continues to plague the church.

The Vatican offered its latest peace offering to The Beatles in its recent issue of L’Osservatore Romano, its official newspaper, on Monday.

“It’s true they took drugs, lived life to excess because of their success, even said they were bigger than Jesus and put out mysterious messages that were possibly even satanic,” the newspaper said.

But, “what would pop music have been like without The Beatles?” it reasoned, describing the band’s music as “beautiful.”

The Vatican doesn’t appear to be extending the same kind of olive branch to other popular bands, such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Black Sabbath and The Eagles.

In 1996, those groups were among several - including The Beatles - that Pope Benedict XVI warned youth against listening to when he was still a cardinal, claiming their music contained “subliminal” satanic influences.

Lennon’s full quote was “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” We suspect the late Beatle would feel the same about the Vatican’s volte-face as Starr does.

Ringo Starr tells Vatican to ‘Get Back’; dismisses effort to ‘forgive’ The Beatles (NY Daily News)

Thanks again, DangerousMinds

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are planning to have the Pope arrested in the UK

It's a buddy-cop movie plot for the new millennium: Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are teaming up to arrest the Pope when he comes to Britain in September.
Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: "This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence."
Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: "This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."
Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI

thanks, BoingBoing

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reagan's "National Day of Prayer"
Ruled Unconstitutional

U.S. Constitutional Separation of Church and State: 1.
Fundamentalist Tyrants: 0.
On Thursday, April 15, 2010, SR U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer Proclamation, instituted by Ronald Reagan in 1988, is unconstitutional. Freedom From Religion Foundation v George W. Bush was filed in Wisconsin in 2008 and has been progressing through the courts since that time. The subsequent ruling in the case was filed as Freedom From Religion Foundation v Barrack Obama & Robert Gibbs to reflect the change in administration after the 2008 elections. Judge Crabb explained her decision by stating that “…[the National Day of Prayer’s] goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgement’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.” She continued, “In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”
(News Junkie: Reagan’s Prayer Ritual Finally Ruled Unconstitutional) - Thanks, DangerousMinds

First thing I have to say: It's about fucking time.

Ronald Reagan was a fucking horrible President and EVERYONE at the time knew it when he left office, no matter what party - he was an embarrassment. We thought we'd never see again in our lifetimes such an idiot rise to the highest political office in the land (Who knew George W. was coming?) The revisionist history that all these politicians come out with is astonishing to me. As i get older and can see first hand how shit is re-written or formatted for whatever reasons, it's really sickening. So he was responsible for making it OK again to be a racist, a bigot and a hater of intellectuals, and environmentalists. Fuck him, he was a piece of shit and so are you if you think for any reason he was good. Funny thing is though, that as conservative as he was, and made it popular again among the greed and dimwit set, what Bill Clinton did in the years following after the 1st Bush, as a "New Democrat", was more conservative than anything Reagan could have even dreamed of doing (welfare cuts to individuals, but hand outs to big business). Clinton, the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing really was the confirmation of every ones worst fears, that indeed Reagan did again legitimize people prejudices, and move the whole political spectrum to the right for decades to follow. It was and still is scary how people can get so scared that they all lose there spines, and fold only to the people with the most money, and play on the ignorance of the scared masses, just forget about the general population that voted. Oh well Ronnie, i know you're not rolling over, it was your handlers more than you who started this bullshit, but here's hoping this is another nail in your coffin, and idiots stop talking about memorializing you in any way further in the future. Reagan is dead, so are what passed as his ideas. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on, and all those who try to ride it still.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Survey results: Americans insist on government benefits but don't want to pay for them

The Economist asked Americans: "What is the best way to cut the deficit?"

5% said, "increase taxes."

62% said, "reduce government spending."

OK, said The Economist. "Here is a list of things the federal government spends money on. Which things should the government spend less on?"

As you can see in the chart above, over two-thirds of Americans don't want to reduce spending on anything single category, except foreign aid. And as Mother Jones points out, foreign aid represents less than 1% of America's total spending.

Beyond that, there were only four areas that even a quarter of the population was willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending.

from BoingBoing

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do Black Holes Contain Other Universes?

Ker Than for National Geographic News

Like part of a cosmic Russian doll, our universe may be nested inside a black hole that is itself part of a larger universe.

In turn, all the black holes found so far in our universe—from the microscopic to the supermassive—may be doorways into alternate realities.

According to a mind-bending new theory, a black hole is actually a tunnel between universes—a type of wormhole. The matter the black hole attracts doesn't collapse into a single point, as has been predicted, but rather gushes out a "white hole" at the other end of the black one, the theory goes.

(Related: "New Proof Unknown 'Structures' Tug at Our Universe.")

In a recent paper published in the journal Physics Letters B, Indiana University physicist Nikodem Poplawski presents new mathematical models of the spiraling motion of matter falling into a black hole. His equations suggest such wormholes are viable alternatives to the "space-time singularities" that Albert Einstein predicted to be at the centers of black holes.

According to Einstein's equations for general relativity, singularities are created whenever matter in a given region gets too dense, as would happen at the ultradense heart of a black hole.

Einstein's theory suggests singularities take up no space, are infinitely dense, and are infinitely hot—a concept supported by numerous lines of indirect evidence but still so outlandish that many scientists find it hard to accept.

If Poplawski is correct, they may no longer have to.

According to the new equations, the matter black holes absorb and seemingly destroy is actually expelled and becomes the building blocks for galaxies, stars, and planets in another reality.

(Related: "Dark Energy's Demise? New Theory Doesn't Use the Force.")

Wormholes Solve Big Bang Mystery?

The notion of black holes as wormholes could explain certain mysteries in modern cosmology, Poplawski said.

For example, the big bang theory says the universe started as a singularity. But scientists have no satisfying explanation for how such a singularity might have formed in the first place.

If our universe was birthed by a white hole instead of a singularity, Poplawski said, "it would solve this problem of black hole singularities and also the big bang singularity."

Wormholes might also explain gamma ray bursts, the second most powerful explosions in the universe after the big bang.

Gamma ray bursts occur at the fringes of the known universe. They appear to be associated with supernovae, or star explosions, in faraway galaxies, but their exact sources are a mystery. (Related: "Gamma-Ray Burst Caused Mass Extinction?")

Poplawski proposes that the bursts may be discharges of matter from alternate universes. The matter, he says, might be escaping into our universe through supermassive black holes—wormholes—at the hearts of those galaxies, though it's not clear how that would be possible.

"It's kind of a crazy idea, but who knows?" he said. (Related: "Are Wormholes Tunnels for Time Travel?")

There is at least one way to test Poplawski's theory: Some of our universe's black holes rotate, and if our universe was born inside a similarly revolving black hole, then our universe should have inherited the parent object's rotation.

If future experiments reveal that our universe appears to rotate in a preferred direction, it would be indirect evidence supporting his wormhole theory, Poplawski said.

Wormholes Are "Exotic Matter" Makers?

The wormhole theory may also help explain why certain features of our universe deviate from what theory predicts, according to physicists.

Based on the standard model of physics, after the big bang the curvature of the universe should have increased over time so that now—13.7 billion years later—we should seem to be sitting on the surface of a closed, spherical universe.

But observations show the universe appears flat in all directions.

What's more, data on light from the very early universe show that everything just after the big bang was a fairly uniform temperature.

That would mean that the farthest objects we see on opposite horizons of the universe were once close enough to interact and come to equilibrium, like molecules of gas in a sealed chamber.

Again, observations don't match predictions, because the objects farthest from each other in the known universe are so far apart that the time it would take to travel between them at the speed of light exceeds the age of the universe.

To explain the discrepancies, astronomers devised the concept of inflation.

Inflation states that shortly after the universe was created, it experienced a rapid growth spurt during which space itself expanded at faster-than-light speeds. The expansion stretched the universe from a size smaller than an atom to astronomical proportions in a fraction of a second.

The universe therefore appears flat, because the sphere we're sitting on is extremely large from our viewpoint—just as the sphere of Earth seems flat to someone standing in a field.

Inflation also explains how objects so far away from each other might have once been close enough to interact.

But—assuming inflation is real—astronomers have always been at pains to explain what caused it. That's where the new wormhole theory comes in.

According to Poplawski, some theories of inflation say the event was caused by "exotic matter," a theoretical substance that differs from normal matter, in part because it is repelled rather than attracted by gravity.

Based on his equations, Poplawski thinks such exotic matter might have been created when some of the first massive stars collapsed and became wormholes.

"There may be some relationship between the exotic matter that forms wormholes and the exotic matter that triggered inflation," he said.

(Related: "Before the Big Bang: Light Shed on 'Previous Universe.'")

Wormhole Equations an "Actual Solution"

The new model isn't the first to propose that other universes exist inside black holes. Damien Easson, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, has made the speculation in previous studies.

"What is new here is an actual wormhole solution in general relativity that acts as the passage from the exterior black hole to the new interior universe," said Easson, who was not involved in the new study.

"In our paper, we just speculated that such a solution could exist, but Poplawski has found an actual solution," said Easson, referring to Poplawski's equations.

(Related: "Universe 20 Million Years Older Than Thought.")

Nevertheless, the idea is still very speculative, Easson said in an email.

"Is the idea possible? Yes. Is the scenario likely? I have no idea. But it is certainly an interesting possibility."

Future work in quantum gravity—the study of gravity at the subatomic level—could refine the equations and potentially support or disprove Poplawski's theory, Easson said.

Wormhole Theory No Breakthrough

Overall, the wormhole theory is interesting, but not a breakthrough in explaining the origins of our universe, said Andreas Albrecht, a physicist at the University of California, Davis, who was also not involved in the new study.

By saying our universe was created by a gush of matter from a parent universe, the theory simply shifts the original creation event into an alternate reality.

In other words, it doesn't explain how the parent universe came to be or why it has the properties it has—properties our universe presumably inherited.

"There're really some pressing problems we're trying to solve, and it's not clear that any of this is offering a way forward with that," he said.

Still, Albrecht doesn't find the idea of universe-bridging wormholes any stranger than the idea of black hole singularities, and he cautions against dismissing the new theory just because it sounds a little out there.

"Everything people ask in this business is pretty weird," he said. "You can't say the less weird [idea] is going to win, because that's not the way it's been, by any means."

from via presurfer

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Queen Guitarist Fights To Keep Blood Sports In Past, Where They Belong

from ecorazzi
Penned by Queen guitarist Brian May in 1979, the song “Save Me” – with such emotional lyrics like “Don’t let me face my life alone…Save, save, ooh…I’m naked and I’m far from home” – seems to be a fitting inspiration 31 years later for his new animal-friendly endeavor. The 63 year old Brit, known far more for his searing virtuoso licks than his astrophysics PhD, happens to have another interesting dimension to his persona – that of animal rights advocate.

May’s new self-funded ‘SAVE-ME’ campaign specifically urges Britain’s voting public to keep the Hunting Act of 2004, which outlaws the long cultural practice of hunting down rabbits, foxes, deer, and mink with packs of dogs, in place.

With a May 6th general election predicted to radically alter the balance of Britain’s Parliament, Brian and his supporters’ main concern is that the Tory party may repeal a law that for just six short years has ensured wildlife won’t meet a cruel fate. As it stands, the Tories have a 12 point lead, so this campaign is truly a life or death situation.

May explains: “Our aim is to give animals a voice. It’s clear that the vast majority of the British public are animal lovers and abhor the cruelty of hunting with packs of dogs. We are urging everyone to support only those candidates who commit to voting against the repeal – keeping the law in place, and ultimately banning cruelty from our countryside. We will support any candidate from any party who commits to keeping the law against hunting in place.”

Anyone living in the United Kingdom? If so, please urge them to visit May’s website and join the campaign. This is the type of effort that deserves as much rallying around and support as possible.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stanford Scientists Harvest Electricity From Algae Photosynthesis

Researchers harvest electricity from algae, unkempt pools become gold mines...

Scientists at Stanford have just discovered the greenest source of energy yet — harvesting electricity directly from plants! They’ve successfully collected energy from photosynthetic processes in algae by tapping straight into currents of electrons generated at the cellular level. We know that cars can run on bio-fuel made from algae, but imagine if our power grid could run on pond water in its natural state. No refinement is necessary – all you need is a pool of water, a bunch of the green stuff and a high-tech gold electrode. Best of all, the only by-products are protons and oxygen!

When a plant goes through photosynthesis, the chloroplasts in the plant cells split H2O cells into oxygen, protons and electrons. After this split, light energy from the sun zaps the protons into high gear and the electrons then speed through the cell dolling out their energy to proteins that use it to create sugars.

During the Stanford experiment, researchers were able to intercept the electrons before they went on their high speed jaunt. They used a tiny gold electrode placed inside the membrane of an algae cell to collect the electrons. Now that’s a sophisticated heist.

So far researchers have only had success on the cellular level, and each cell provides a relatively tiny amount of energy. To fill an AA battery you’d need a trillion cells practicing photosynthesis for one hour — that’s a lot of cells for a little bit of juice. WonHyoung Ryu, the lead author of the research paper, noted that this is just the first step in a long line of experiments in harvesting energy from plants. These scientists were the first to harvest electrons from plant cells and with more experiments the outcome can only get better.

Source Stanford University News

Via inhabitat Via Engaget

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Robert Redford on His Life, His Activism and the Importance of Independent Films

This is from earlier in the year, but still cool.
Democracy Now! broadcasts from Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival, the nation’s largest festival for independent cinema. Today, we spend the hour with Robert Redford. He’s well known as an actor, but part and parcel of who he is is an activist. He took his success and leveraged it to promote his real passions: environmental justice, Native American rights and independent filmmaking. Since 1980, through the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford has helped independent voices develop their craft—in film, theater and music—and reach new audiences. Redford joins us for a wide-ranging interview about these many roles in his life, on and off screen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meatless Mondays
Becoming A Reality in NYC Public Schools!

Now we just need Veggie options everyday of the week...
Read more about Meatless Mondays. by going to their website
Manhattan School Cuts The Fat; Urges Others To Join
By: Lindsey Christ NY1 News

Some city officials and parents want schools to stop serving meat on Mondays, saying it could be good for the environment, help kids get healthier and save the Department of Education a few bucks. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
Pasta, veggie burgers, apples, oranges and salad. It's a typical Monday spread at the East Village Community School, all of which is vegetarian.

"It's kind of fun that we don't have any meat in our schools on that one day," said East Village Community School student Maizy Greenberg.

The three schools in the building are among the first in the city to adopt Meatless Mondays -- a public health initiative from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The school is named, as one might guess, for the mayor who's been a major donor. The idea is to teach kids about healthy, plant-based food options.

Health officials say it's good for the kids' health and good for the planet, since industrial meat production may be one of the causes of climate change.

"There is a need for students to be healthy and parents know that and we have some very active parents who are interested as much as the staff, to provide good nutritional options for students," said East Village Community School principal Robin Williams.

"Teaches kids to be more careful what they eat and be more thoughtful and be more green," said East Village Community School student Alexia Siebers.
Parents whose children attend the school said it was easy to make the change.

"We looked at the menus and said why are these children eating meat everyday? It's really not healthy for them and it's not environmentally conscious to do this and we asked our school's food manager, who was there at our meeting, can we have meatless Mondays and they said yes," Children's Workshop School parent Elizabeth Puccini.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the whole public school system has gone meatless on Mondays -- something Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer would like to see adopted in New York City.

"One out of five kindergartners in this city are overweight, meaning that already that starting out their lives they are classified as obese. And the reason is because their diet is leading them to an unhealthy lifestyle and we want to change that," Stringer said.

The DOE's office of school food said Monday it's reviewing the idea of starting each week without meat in every cafeteria in the city.

Meanwhile, parents at East Village Community School are urging individual schools to consider going vegetarian on Mondays.

Watch the report here.
thanks, Seth

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Johnny Rotten Plays His Own Records On Capital Radio 1977

by Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds

Recorded at a moment in time when the young Mr. Rotten was routinely getting his head kicked in by skinheads and hassled by the police, this is probably my single favorite bit of punk rock audio ephemera (actually, it’s a tie with the infamous Slits college radio interview, but that’s another blog post…). What am I talking about? A guest appearance by Johnny Rotten on the Capital Radio program of deep-voiced DJ Tommy Vance. Rotten/Lydon was invited to play records from his own collection and talk about them. He comes across as whip-smart, honest and refreshingly free from much—if any—social programing and religious brainwashing. He discusses the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McClaren (he calls him the fifth member of the band), being educated in a Catholic school he despised and his passionate love of music. There’s no put-on here or any hint of the deliberate obnoxiousness of later years.
Where did you go to school?
[sighs] This poxy Roman Catholic thing. All they done was teach me religion. Didn’t give a damn about your education though. That’s not important is it? Just as long as you go out being a priest.

Which you haven’t become.
Well no. That kind of forcing ideas on you like when you don’t want to know is bound to get the opposite reaction. They don’t let you work it out for yourselves. They tell you you should like it. And that’s why I hate schools. You’re not given a choice. It’s not free.

It’s an inevitable question, and a corny question, but can you think of any better system of educating people?
No I can’t [laugh], I just know that one’s not right. I wouldn’t dare, it’s out of my depth, I have nothing to do with that side of things. I haven’t been to university and studied all the right attitudes, so I don’t know. No I haven’t.

[fades in Doctor Alimantado - ‘Born For A Purpose ‘]
This is it, ‘Born For A Purpose’, right? Now this record, just after I got my brains kicked out, I went home and I played it and there’s a verse which goes, ‘If you have no reason for living, don’t determine my life’. Because the same thing happened to him. He got run over because he was a dread. Very true.
The music he plays is a revelation. Can, some rare soul, Tim Buckley, Peter Hammill (he accuses Bowie of copping the Van Der Graaf Generator front man’s moves), Captain Beefheart (he plays The Blimp!), Nico, John Cale and of course, lots of reggae. When Rotten plays the dub B-side by Culture (the track with the lopping bass, barking dogs, crying babies and blaring car horns) you can hear the blueprint for the PiL sound that would come along just a few months later.

It must be said that for a 19-year-old he’s got astonishingly good taste in music. This really is an incredible thing to listen to. For the musical education alone, it’s great, but listening to the thoughts of this controversial, brilliant young man at the height of powers is a sublime pleasure. It even contains the radio commercials from the broadcast.

A transcript of the interview and a track listing can be found here and the links to the audio files are here.
Part 1
Part 2

Monday, April 12, 2010

Classic Chomsky vs Buckley

I love these two comments that were left on you tube:

"what bill o'reilly does is play yahtzee, buckley played chess... thats how i'd compare him to the hacks holding shouting matches these days"

"most of you presume to call buckley an idiot, etc, but you have not read his writings and for this matter [k]no[w] nothing about him except from what your feeble minds can obtain from it.... obviously chomsky is tenfold sharper than him on principle and history, but buckley is a respectable intellectual"

As I agree both these guys are incredible intellectuals, it's just that Buckley was a total asshole and Chomsky perhaps the most decent man alive.


double bonus, Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Silly for Sunday.

Jam session with improvised instruments.
The drum is a box. The bass is made of two balloons. The results are delightful.

from BoingBoing

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Malcolm McLaren R.I.P.

It was just a few days ago that Malcolm passed, for some reason i was saddened more so than i thought i would be considering he was not someone i knew personally. I guess over the years I felt some kinship with him and although we were in the same room a few times over the years - we were never actually introduced. I always thought I would eventually have a chance to have a conversation with him, unfortunately this will not happen.

After all it was once brought to my attention that he was very inspired by the DogTown crew, and of course came the Sex Pistols with their glorified horrifying swastikas much as the surf/skate nazi's of the west side of Los Angeles in the mid-seventies. I know one thing for sure, none of the DT crew were into the Sex Pistols until they were already broken-up, so which came first with this patently offensive statement on your gear or fashion? Well it was the Z-Boys of course! But only Malcolm or Stecyk could tell us for sure if that was the inspiration for the Viviene Westwood designs at Malcolm's shop on the Kings Road in London, that Johnny Rotten and his crew were wearing. That all said Malcolm's next popular music dip would be with Bow Wow Wow. Then the "Buffalo Gals" single with the "World Famous Supreme Team" from Malcolm's own "Duck Rock" album came out, it was an instant hip -hop classic if for no other reason it showed people scratching records on MTV long before they would ever expose Grand Master Flash or Run-DMC, but more importantly to me it showed the world the ROCK STEADY CREW before anyone else, (they blew my mind the first time i came across them by accident at the Roxy after the 1st NYC screening of "The Great Rock And Roll Swindle" coincidentally). When I was a columnist for Maximum Rock'n'Roll in 1984, I named my column "The Great Rock'N'Roll Swindle". He may not have been a mastermind (he often got credited as, and dis-credited almost as often), but he certainly was a master of something.

I came across a nice post from my friend Shepard Fairey today discussing his shared time with Malcolm (which i never remember hearing about before) and a great interview he did with him, another friend Ryan Murphy also happened to take the current portrait for the interview. Here's one of his answer/stories I never heard before:
First Experience with Hip Hop
I first listened to hip-hop in the South Bronx in the days when Afrika Bambaataa was a DJ with a crew. It was around 1980, I was managing Bow Wow Wow and they were playing a showcase gig for the local record company, RCA, then. I had never been further than 62nd Street and I always wondered what was further up there. So I decided to take a walk that afternoon. I saw a humongous guy on the streets of Harlem wearing a bright-yellow t-shirt that had, adorned across it, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. ” I went up to him and said, “I had something to do with that t-shirt.” He had never heard the music of the group that was fully paraded on that t-shirt, the Sex Pistols. He just loved the name.

Then he invited me to a party that night and wrote the address down on a piece of paper. And then I asked him his name and he said Afrika Bambaataa, and I thought, “That’s a hell of a name.” I went back to my hotel and I phoned my friends, and they said, “Shit man, that was the name of the last Zulu uprising against the English.” I thought, “Wow, what an incredible narrative, just in the name.”

So I decided to go to this party up in the Bronx. It was the most difficult place I have ever in my life tried to get to. I think 26 cabs passed as I waited outside my hotel in midtown Manhattan – no one would take me there. I actually was about to step back in the hotel; then this last cab decided to take me there. He told me to roll up my windows and put my money in my socks.

Then we arrived. I thought it was going to be an apartment building, but it was just waste ground. I was very scared, I have to say. There was a volatile crowd of kids on this waste ground in the middle of two fired-out condominiums, far, far, far into the Bronx. I decided to pretend I was the representative of a major American record company: “Hello, I ’m from CBS. Excuse me, I need to get to the stage.” A bit like Moses, I just wanted to part the sea. At the end of the debris field there were these massive tables with record players on them and piles and boxes of records. The guy that I had met in the afternoon was standing back, just looking like he was protecting his speakers,stereo systems and stuff. I literally dived under the table and through the legs of people so I could stand next to him. I was the only honky and I wanted everyone to know that this guy was my man. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Do you remember me?” He seemed to vaguely remember me. I said, “I’m just going to stand here next to you.” That was my first experience of hip-hop.

I asked him if he ever played in clubs, because I had this group Bow Wow Wow and I wanted him to open for them. He said, “No, we don’t play in clubs,” but eventually he agreed. Bow Wow Wow was playing for a typical college, Anglo-Saxonish crowd of kids. Suddenly, Afrika Bambaataa and his crew were knocking on the back door. Security wouldn’t let them in so they had to come to the back door. I dragged them all in and they mounted the stage, literally laid out all the equipment as they had at that previous show on the debris site. They started to go at it, and a couple of their guys jumped into the crowd. The college kids were terrified. They ran. They all ran upstairs until the ground floor was totally empty. It was extraordinary. These guys tarted to spin on their heads and it was phenomenal. They already had the attributes that would become ubiquitous in hip-hop style: the caps, the baggy t-shirts. . . all of that was already assembled, but it hadn’t hit anybody downtown on a commercial, even independent level.

I went to RCA the following day and said, “You have got to sign this group; they are going to be massive.” This was the newest thing I had ever heard. Not only was it brilliant, it was ecological.

They were making music out of all this disposable pop rubbish from the past. They were making sense of it all. I said, “This is fantastic!” RCA was absolutely not interested.

I always thought hip-hop was the black punk rock. It had similar DIY aspects and it was definitely a music that, at first, the industry had no interest in. They knew the idea of recycling all this disposable pop rubbish into something else was not something they would necessarily have control over. They were protectionists, jailers: “Hey, that’s our copyright! Since when do you own this?” Then it was like the jailer had opened up the vaults and all this music fell out. Like the storming of the Bastille: “Hey it’s all out here! We can do something with all this stuff! It belongs to the world!” I think hip-hop had that in the beginning, but of course everyone started to sign forms and the music became inherently controlled by the industry again: “You might be able to use this sample if you pay this much; you won’t be able to use that sample because you can’t pay.” There was a censorship by the industry on that culture and I don’t think it ever recovered. It was natural that it was going to follow a road map that would become increasingly driven by money and, thereafter, power. And to some extent, people really looked up to that power. The bling culture for instance.
check out the whole piece here in Swindle Magazine .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Viral (bad ass) TV commercial
(If you're 12 years old)

Take all the ingredients of an average car commercial, zipping through empty streets, curving tightly, splashing over puddles, braking at a moment's notice and so on.

Sure, we've seen this before, but have you seen it in 1/10 scale RC model cars: one a model of a Nissan Sentra SE-R and the other an anonymous camera mounted car that captures the footage played in the commercial along with the camera on the RC helicopter.

from Presurfer

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

MOS DUB - Max Tannone, Does It Again

No need to be a Mos Def or Dub fan, this shit is killin' it.

from the same guy that brought us:
Double Check Your Head

Max himself told me: "I can you tell that I was partly inspired by watching footage of sound system culture...(check out jack ruby soundsystem on youtube)...I think that whole scene was incredible and cool...especially when I read about these deejay's building their own speakers and amplifiers, trying to outdo each other...the whole thing is really inspiring and fascinating to me...

I'm also intrigued by engineers/producers like King Tubby, Lee Perry, and Scientist. In a way...just trying to emulate what they did, how they mixed live off of a mixing board, manipulating delay feedback, the creative use of sound effects, their use of bass, becoming true artists in their own right...I didn't mix Mos Dub live off a mixing board, but while doing the project I definitely had this stuff in mind."

Download the whole album at once HERE. FOR FREE!!!!!

Thanks, AdRock

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Looking at photos of sick people boosts your immune system

from Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing
I harbor the superstitious belief that I will catch a cold from watching TV shows depicting people who are sick. I usually stop watching any program that has someone sniffing and sneezing. But it turns out that looking at images of sick people actually boosts your immune system, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia.
The researchers asked young adults to watch a 10-minute slide show containing a series of unpleasant photographs. Some of these participants looked at pictures of people who looked obviously sick in some way (people with pox and rashes, people coughing and sneezing and blowing mucus out of their noses).
The participants gave blood samples both before and after each slideshow. Next the researchers exposed these blood samples to a bacterial infection, and measured the extent to which white blood cells produced interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is a proinflammatory cytokine that white blood cells make when they detect microbial intruders. More IL-6 indicates a more aggressive immune response to infection. So, by measuring IL-6 before and after the slide show, the researchers were able to determine whether seeing pictures of disease-y people actually stimulated the immune system to fight infection more aggressively. And it did.
Douglas Kenrick of Psychology Today interviewed one of the researchers in the study, social psychologist Mark Schaller.

The psychological immune system

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anatomy of a huge 80's smash

Here's a video time line of the popular hit of the early 80's, "White Lines"

let's start with this cool video made for the original:
Liquid Liquid, The song is called "Cavern" from small indie label 99 records, whose store i used to go to (on MacDougal St. Here in Greenwich Village) to buy cool PUNK singles, while in high school in the late 70's! (got The Dead Kennedy's, Germs, and Black Flag, 1st singles there.)

The Hit: GrandMaster Flash and The Furious Five, White Lines (I couldn't find any actual "video" made for this song):

this "video" of the hit perhaps a student film from Spike Lee:

Duran Duran version (maybe the most hideous and simultaneously punk thing they ever did):

thanks for the heads up Dangerous Minds

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Paper Vs. Product"
Sunday Sermon: from Robert Reich

The Paper Entrepreneurs Are Winning Over the Product Entrepreneurs (A Thirty Year Retrospective) By Robert Reich

Paper entrepreneurs — trained in law, finance, accountancy — manipulate complex systems of rules and numbers. They innovate by using the systems in novel ways: establishing joint ventures, consortiums, holding companies, mutual funds; finding companies to acquire, “white knights” to be acquired by, commodity futures to invest in, tax shelters to hide in; engaging in proxy fights, tender offers, antitrust suits, stock splits, spinoffs, divestitures; buying and selling notes, bonds, convertible debentures, sinking-fund debentures; obtaining government subsidies, loan guarantees, tax breaks, contracts, licenses, quottas, price supports, bailouts; going private, going public, going bankrupt.

Product entrepreneurs — engineers, inventors, production managers, marketers, owners of small businesses — produce goods and services people want. They innovate by creating better products at less cost.

Our economic system needs both. Paper entrepreneurs ensure that capital is allocated efficienctly among product enrepreneurs. But paper entrepreneurs do not directly enlarge the economic pie. They only arrange and divide the slices. They provide nothing of tangible use. For an economy to maintain its health, entrepreneurial rewards should flow primarily to product, not paper.

Yet paper entrepreneurialism is on the rise. It dominates the leadership of our largest corporations. It guides government departments, legislatures, agencies, public utilities. It stimulates platoons of lawyers and financiers.

It preoccupies some of our best minds, attracts some of our most talented graduates, embodies some of our most creative and original thinking, spurs some of our most energetic wheeling and dealing. Paper entrepreneurialism also promises the best financial rewards, the highest social status.

The ratio of paper entrepreneurialism to product entrepreneurialism in our economy — measured by total earnings flowing to each, or by the amoung of news in business journals and newspapers typically devoted to each — is about 2 to 1.

Why? Our economic system has become so complex and interdependent that capital must be allocated according to symbols of productivity rather than according to productivity itself. These symbolic rules and numbers lend themselves to profitable manipulation far more readily than do the underlying processes of production.

It takes time and effort to improve product quality, exploit manufacturing efficiencies, develop distribution and sales networks. But through strategic use of accounting conventions, tax rules, stock and commodity exchanges, exchange rates, government largesse, and litigation, enormous profits are possible with relatively little effort.

When paper entrepreneurs look for solutions to America’s declining productivity and international competitiveness, they come up with paper remedies to stimulate large-scale capital investment: accelerated depreciation, tax credits, government subsidies, relaxation of antitrust laws.

Product entrepreneurs focus on techniques for improving output: better quality controls, improved labor-management relations, more effective incentives for managers and employees, more aggressive marketing and sales.

If we are to increase the economic pie, we will need to redress the balance of entrepreneurial effort. Which strategies will stimulate more paper, and which more product?

-Robert Reich

[Written thirty years ago. It appeared on the The New York Times oped page May 23, 1980.]

in case you didn't know, Robert Reich is indeed someone who's opinion can be taken seriously. But, he also has a great sense of humor, witness below:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

International Pillow Fight Day

Today, Saturday April 3rd 2010, there will be massive pillow fights in cities around the world! Use this site to locate the nearest one to you. If you would like to learn how to organize a pillow fight, read the howto guide. Check out the list of cities that participated in 2008 and 2009.
About The Urban Playground Movement
All over the world, groups like us organize free, fun, all ages, non-commercial public events. From a massive Mobile Clubbing event in a London train station to a giant pillow fight near the Eiffel Tower in Paris to a subway party beneath the streets of Toronto, it is clear that the urban playground is growing around the world, leaving more public and more social cities in its wake. This is the urban playground movement, a playful part of the larger public space movement.

One of our goals is to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television, and consciously rejecting the blight on our cities caused by the endless creep of advertising into public space. The result, we hope, will be a global community of participants, not consumers, in a world where people are constantly organizing and attending these happenings in every major city in the world.

This project, Pillow Fight Day 2010, is a collaboration of many people who comprise a loose, decentralized network of urban playground event organizers all over the world.
Here's some YouTube video from years past in my neighborhood:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour

The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is famous for its architecture and its decoration which has been frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli.

Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted 12,000 square feet of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. Today the ceiling, and especially The Last Judgement, are widely believed to be Michelangelo's crowning achievements in painting.

Take an incredible Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel.

This really is one of the best "virtual" looks at anything i've ever seen on line, be sure to make your browser as big as possible and zoom in pretty close too.

When I visited St. Peter's Basilica (pictured below) in Vatican City, in Rome, I have to admit it truly was one of the most astonishing things I had ever seen in my life, not to mention an incredible testament to the power of religion during this period of civilization that continues to baffle and blow my mind simultaneously every day.

Thanks, Presurfer