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M Sinclair Stevens

M Sinclair Stevens Verified in Google 

Context Sensitive. Solution Oriented.

Occupation: UX User Advocate (Making a Simpler, More Beautiful G+)

Location: Austin

Followers: 20,713

Views: 35,560,319

Cream of the Crop: 01/12/2012

Added to CircleCount.com: 07/14/2011That's the date, where M Sinclair Stevens has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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M Sinclair Stevens has been at 1 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Sarah Hill2,873,971Calling all inhabitants of the Ghost Town.   Let's #HIRL in Austin, TX!!!   (Hangout In Real Life). Hear how ★ Plusketeers are using the +Google+  platform to create their own #humanmedia posse and how 2013 could be the year for + Google +.  Our venue only holds 100 so you *must RVSP* early and email googleplus@vu.com if you'd like to join us for lunch. +Veterans United is picking up the tab for free food and drinks but you're ghosts...so you don't eat much right?  ♥♥♥   #SXSWHIRL  HIRL in Austin, TX2013-03-09 12:00:00242  

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Most comments: 19

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2016-11-15 13:19:09 (19 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Politics: To Those Who Didn't Show Up
From the article, "Of course, there will still be those voters who snarl, “She didn’t earn my vote,” as if somehow their narcissism should override all other considerations in the election. That, however, is not what an election is about. Voters are charged with choosing the best person to lead the country, not the one who appeals the most to their egos."

"If you voted for Trump because you supported him, congratulations on your candidate’s victory. But if you didn’t vote for the only person who could defeat him and are now protesting a Trump presidency, may I suggest you shut up and go home. Adults now need to start fixing the damage you have done."

----------
ht +Craig Froehle 

Most reshares: 6

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2016-11-17 00:55:57 (6 comments; 6 reshares; 47 +1s; )Open 

Travel Philadelphia: The Liberty Bell
"America and the Classical Ideal. Both the past and the present had lessons to teach the New World philosophers. They hoped to avoid the mistakes of history, learn from its experience, and apply this knowledge to their new reality. Belief in the classical ideal, while not universal, still heavily influenced most spheres of 18th-century life."

"Through their poems, histories, and plays, the early Roman Republic and ancient Athenian Greece offered examples of noble men who devoted their lives to the public welfare. These heroes exhibited the admirable qualities of frugality, industry, loyalty, and "disinterestedness" a desire for fame but not a lust for power."

"More than a millennium after corruption and war destroyed ancient Rome, European intellectuals built upon the fundamental truths they... more »

Most plusones: 47

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2016-11-17 00:55:57 (6 comments; 6 reshares; 47 +1s; )Open 

Travel Philadelphia: The Liberty Bell
"America and the Classical Ideal. Both the past and the present had lessons to teach the New World philosophers. They hoped to avoid the mistakes of history, learn from its experience, and apply this knowledge to their new reality. Belief in the classical ideal, while not universal, still heavily influenced most spheres of 18th-century life."

"Through their poems, histories, and plays, the early Roman Republic and ancient Athenian Greece offered examples of noble men who devoted their lives to the public welfare. These heroes exhibited the admirable qualities of frugality, industry, loyalty, and "disinterestedness" a desire for fame but not a lust for power."

"More than a millennium after corruption and war destroyed ancient Rome, European intellectuals built upon the fundamental truths they... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2017-01-02 02:07:15 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

ATX: And Justice for All
December 6, 2016. Congress Ave. Austin, Texas. Taken on my walk to the post office.

ATX: And Justice for All
December 6, 2016. Congress Ave. Austin, Texas. Taken on my walk to the post office.___

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2016-12-29 02:24:09 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

RIP: Debbie Reynolds
You are my lucky star...

RIP: Debbie Reynolds
You are my lucky star...___

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2016-12-29 02:18:54 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

RIP: Debbie Reynolds
In my favorite musical, Singin' in the Rain.

RIP: Debbie Reynolds
In my favorite musical, Singin' in the Rain.___

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2016-12-27 14:11:15 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Artifacts: Database of Exhumed Objects
The point of this G+ Collection was to discuss how our objects shape, reflect, and represent us. Although we can't take it with us, perhaps instead we leave a bit of ourselves behind, something to show that we once existed, something physical by which to remember us. In the cases of people who have died as immigrant workers or refugees, the small objects found on their bodies may be the only clue to their identity, all that remains to tell us the stories of the dead who have no names.

Artifacts: Database of Exhumed Objects
The point of this G+ Collection was to discuss how our objects shape, reflect, and represent us. Although we can't take it with us, perhaps instead we leave a bit of ourselves behind, something to show that we once existed, something physical by which to remember us. In the cases of people who have died as immigrant workers or refugees, the small objects found on their bodies may be the only clue to their identity, all that remains to tell us the stories of the dead who have no names.___

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2016-12-26 15:31:06 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Hygge: Danish Comfort versus American Shame
On the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm sitting in front of a fire, toasting my woolen-sock clad feet on the hearth, drinking a steaming cup of milky Yorkshire black tea, nibbling a slice of the stollen my spouse baked over the weekend, and reading the New Yorker, where I learn that this is hygge According to the New Yorker, hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish term, describing an essential Danish national character which appreciates "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being".

If recent articles in The New Yorker and the New York Times are any indications, the WASP search for a happier life is morphing from the "life-changing" tidy minimalism imported from Japan (KonMari) to the snug comforts of the hearth imported from... more »

Hygge: Danish Comfort versus American Shame
On the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm sitting in front of a fire, toasting my woolen-sock clad feet on the hearth, drinking a steaming cup of milky Yorkshire black tea, nibbling a slice of the stollen my spouse baked over the weekend, and reading the New Yorker, where I learn that this is hygge According to the New Yorker, hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish term, describing an essential Danish national character which appreciates "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being".

If recent articles in The New Yorker and the New York Times are any indications, the WASP search for a happier life is morphing from the "life-changing" tidy minimalism imported from Japan (KonMari) to the snug comforts of the hearth imported from Denmark (hygge).

From the New Yorker "At least six books about hygge were published in the United States this year, with more to come in 2017. (At the Guardian, Charlotte Higgins has done an investigation into the U.K.’s hygge publishing craze.) Helen Russell, a British journalist who wrote “The Year of Living Danishly,” defines the term as “taking pleasure in the presence of gentle, soothing things"

Americans might embrace the trappings of hygge, just as we commodify and consume other imported cultural trends. But we Americans are not going to achieve contentment from buying a few candles any more than we can achieve Zen enlightenment by buying incence and desktop gravel garden.

Whatever satisfaction flows from hygge is not about the trappings. It's about the Skandinavian mindset environment that not only allows but values modest pleasures. Hygge runs smack up against both our national character and our current economic realities.

Anglos (in the USA and UK ) don't need to learn how to hygge. Any "womens" magazine in the last 70 years is filled with examples. Martha Stewart created a corporate empire on the comforts of home.

What WASPs are seeking is permission to hygge. The recent American/UK fascination with hygge stems from our amazement with a foreign culture where home comforts are not only allowed but accepted and encouraged (even taken to the other extreme of coercive conformity).

American's Puritans ancestors bestowed the gift of guilt to spoil any pleasure, even simple ones. Americans view the ordinary comfort of hearth and home as silly indulgences or trivialized as feminine. This guilt is so imbued in our culture that we make lists of our "guilty pleasures" and marketers advertise the joy of their wares as "guilt free" or tauntingly "sinfully indulgent". They push us to consume "because we deserve it". We have to be convinced that we are worth it because we feel so unworthy of joy.

And the guilt does not come just from our religious heritage. As long as I remember bourgeois has been hurled as an insult by both my more artsy and my politcally active acquantances. The first group hates the bland conformity and the second the danger of being lulled into a kind of comfort that makes us weak and easy prey to the evil at large. Or if they don't go to that extreme, at least we should feel guilt for enjoying comfort when so many others suffer.

Yet the lesson I see in this sudden interest in the UK and the USA of hygge, is the recognition that the middle class is disappearing and as these comforts become more rare they are more valued.

Again from the New Yorker, "Perhaps Scandinavians are better able to appreciate the small, hygge things in life because they already have all the big ones nailed down: free university education, social security, universal health care, efficient infrastructure, paid family leave, and at least a month of vacation a year. With those necessities secured, according to Wiking, Danes are free to become “aware of the decoupling between wealth and wellbeing'.”

Having been taught Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it seems to be only logical that once our basic needs for survival are met, that we can move to the middle ground of community (love, belonging and esteem), and finally a few of us (like my artsy friends) can reach self-actualization or self-trancendence.

In America it is not enough that the wealthy enjoy every luxury, they are the only ones allowed the luxury of joy. The rest of us must feel guilty for our pleasures and the very poorest among us must be punished for them.

The American Dream is a rags-to-riches story, a story of extremes. And in the current perversion of it, wealth is enjoyable only if one can flaunt it and winning most fun only when you beat someone else out of the prize. To feel like a winner these days, the guys on top now insist on losers.

As more of us get pushed to the losing side, no wonder we gaze upon these boring, conforming, bourgeois, modest middle class comforts as having almost fairy tale magic, a transformational escape from extremes. If it were possible for everyone to have the wherewithal to enjoy small things--hearth and home, kith and kin, health and heartiness--what a vast improvement it would be. We are made to feel shame (guilt again!) for aiming so low, but let's get everyone to that goal first and then we can aim higher.
==================
The New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-year-of-hygge-the-danish-obsession-with-getting-cozy

The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/fashion/wintering-the-danish-way-learning-about-hygge.html

The Highs and Lows of Hygge
http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/teach-me/87589184/the-highs-and-lows-of-hygge--the-danish-concept-of-cosiness___

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2016-12-15 22:53:03 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

The Art of Life
"Those of us who know not the secret of properly regulating our own existence on this tumultuous sea of foolish troubles which we call life are constantly in a state of misery while vainly trying to appear happy and contented. We stagger in the attempt to keep our moral equalibrium, and see forerunners of the tempest in every cloud that floats on the horizon." Okakura "The Book of Tea"

The Art of Life
"Those of us who know not the secret of properly regulating our own existence on this tumultuous sea of foolish troubles which we call life are constantly in a state of misery while vainly trying to appear happy and contented. We stagger in the attempt to keep our moral equalibrium, and see forerunners of the tempest in every cloud that floats on the horizon." Okakura "The Book of Tea"___

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2016-12-15 14:12:09 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Reaping the Spoils of America's Destruction
From the article...
"Missing in the ideological embrace of choice for choice’s sake is any suggestion of the public school as a public good—as a centering locus for a community and as a shared pillar of the commonweal, in which all citizens have an investment...DeVos’s nomination suggests that in a Trump Administration the more fundamental premises that underlie our institutions of public education will be brought into question."

And how does privatization turn out? Pretty much how you'd expect of a system where the emphasis is on profit rather than the outcome or educating our children.

"Almost two-thirds of the state’s charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, which are not required to make the financial disclosures that would be expected of not-for-profit orpublic ... more »

Politics: Reaping the Spoils of America's Destruction
From the article...
"Missing in the ideological embrace of choice for choice’s sake is any suggestion of the public school as a public good—as a centering locus for a community and as a shared pillar of the commonweal, in which all citizens have an investment...DeVos’s nomination suggests that in a Trump Administration the more fundamental premises that underlie our institutions of public education will be brought into question."

And how does privatization turn out? Pretty much how you'd expect of a system where the emphasis is on profit rather than the outcome or educating our children.

"Almost two-thirds of the state’s charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, which are not required to make the financial disclosures that would be expected of not-for-profit or public entities. This lack of transparency has not translated into stellar academic results: student standardized-test scores at charter schools, the paper found, were no more than comparable with those at traditional public schools. And, despite the rhetoric of “choice,” lower-income students were effectively segregated into poorer-performing schools, while the parents of more privileged students were better equipped to navigate the system. Even Tom Watkins, the state’s former education superintendent, who favors charter schools, told the newspaper, 'In a number of cases, people are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren’t getting educated'.”___

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2016-12-15 02:03:54 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Art: Appropriation or Mash-Up--Who's Zoomin' Who?
What I love about the world is how we all inform each other. From a white girl in England doing Japanese Rap to a Japanese hip hop rapping to a riff from Jesus Christ Superstar. Celebrate our commonality.

Hannah Does Special Force
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7cYeBwVQZ4

Nitro Microphone Underground Does Special Force
https://youtu.be/LEZGMEXZg7g

Jesus Christ Superstar
https://youtu.be/u3m2kQ-tOEk?t=3m56s
(start at 3:56)

Art: Appropriation or Mash-Up--Who's Zoomin' Who?
What I love about the world is how we all inform each other. From a white girl in England doing Japanese Rap to a Japanese hip hop rapping to a riff from Jesus Christ Superstar. Celebrate our commonality.

Hannah Does Special Force
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7cYeBwVQZ4

Nitro Microphone Underground Does Special Force
https://youtu.be/LEZGMEXZg7g

Jesus Christ Superstar
https://youtu.be/u3m2kQ-tOEk?t=3m56s
(start at 3:56)___

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2016-12-14 19:40:44 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

Designed Illegibility
Design helps users or hinders them; either way, it directs them. One wonders what's the point of getting eyeballs to your page if the eyeballs can't make out a word when they get there. What do you think you've accomplished.
-------------
Quote from the article, "My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print — keep your type black, and vary weight and font instead of grayness. You’ll be making things better for people who read on smaller, dimmer screens, even if their eyes aren’t aging like mine. It may not be trendy, but it’s time to consider who is being left out by the web’s aesthetic."

It's not your eyes. . .___Designed Illegibility
Design helps users or hinders them; either way, it directs them. One wonders what's the point of getting eyeballs to your page if the eyeballs can't make out a word when they get there. What do you think you've accomplished.
-------------
Quote from the article, "My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print — keep your type black, and vary weight and font instead of grayness. You’ll be making things better for people who read on smaller, dimmer screens, even if their eyes aren’t aging like mine. It may not be trendy, but it’s time to consider who is being left out by the web’s aesthetic."

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2016-12-13 15:42:26 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Politics: We Have Conceded Defeat

Keith Olbermann: Is there a Russian coup underway in America?

We are no longer a sovereign nation, we are no longer a democracy, we are no longer a free people. We are the victims of a bloodless coup -- so far -- engineered by Russia with the traitorous indifference of the Republican Party.

The words, given and meant literally, not figuratively: war, coup, treason, traitor. A man who will live in imfamy.

To President Obama: release the unvarnished truth to the American people, and people of the world, now. There is not time for careful deliberation.

Watch, listen, forward.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IAFxPXGDH4E___Politics: We Have Conceded Defeat

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2016-12-12 01:52:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

RIP Greg Lake: From the Beginning
Studies have shown that when you play music for patients with Alzheimer's, that they become more alert and focused...restored to themselves. I hope if that ever happens to me that someone will play this. It really takes me to my high school days. I can close my eyes and be restored to a different time and place.
---
See Henry and his music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7Y78aqf_I

RIP Greg Lake: From the Beginning
Studies have shown that when you play music for patients with Alzheimer's, that they become more alert and focused...restored to themselves. I hope if that ever happens to me that someone will play this. It really takes me to my high school days. I can close my eyes and be restored to a different time and place.
---
See Henry and his music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7Y78aqf_I___

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2016-12-12 01:17:35 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

RIP Greg Lake: Still You Turn Me On
I remember watching this originally in 1974 and being appalled that Greg Lake seems to be chewing gum...it felt like he wasn't really giving it his all, not really taking his performance (and by extension his audience) seriously. But if you just listen to his voice, it's hard to fault it.

And the line "someone get me a ladder"!?! Always a kind of WTF rhyme.

RIP Greg Lake: Still You Turn Me On
I remember watching this originally in 1974 and being appalled that Greg Lake seems to be chewing gum...it felt like he wasn't really giving it his all, not really taking his performance (and by extension his audience) seriously. But if you just listen to his voice, it's hard to fault it.

And the line "someone get me a ladder"!?! Always a kind of WTF rhyme.___

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2016-12-09 14:41:37 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Politics: White Male of the Year
I think Trump's right...he's lacking the basic humanity to be considered person of the year.

Politics: White Male of the Year
I think Trump's right...he's lacking the basic humanity to be considered person of the year.___

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2016-12-09 01:40:23 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

ELP: RIP Greg Lake
I love this little clip of them rehearsing Karn Evil 9. After 4 minutes of Emerson trying to get Palmer on board (I skipped to minute 4), Lake is just sitting there, patiently playing his bit over and over and over, cig in strumming fingers. Eventually Palmer catches on and they take it from the top and it's seamless, complex, gorgeous.

ELP: RIP Greg Lake
I love this little clip of them rehearsing Karn Evil 9. After 4 minutes of Emerson trying to get Palmer on board (I skipped to minute 4), Lake is just sitting there, patiently playing his bit over and over and over, cig in strumming fingers. Eventually Palmer catches on and they take it from the top and it's seamless, complex, gorgeous.___

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2016-12-09 00:56:28 (7 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Film: Midnight Diner
Netflix has come out with a 10-episode season of Midnight Diner, which began as an award-winning manga, then a Japanese TV series and feature film.

Like An this series is quiet, quirky, and offbeat...mixing food, of course, with characters a bit on the edge of Japanese society but entirely recognizable as classic Japanese characters. Tokyo is said to be not so much a big city as a collection of small villages and these are the kind of village characters that I might have come across in rural Kyushu.

It's so nice that Netflix is providing some alternative Japanese fare to the stereotypical anime, yakuza, or samurai flicks. Think what it would be like if American film (or the American people) was represented to the world only by Disney cartoons, cowboy films, and gangster movies.
-----------
Quote from the article, "The dishes recur... more »

Film: Midnight Diner
Netflix has come out with a 10-episode season of Midnight Diner, which began as an award-winning manga, then a Japanese TV series and feature film.

Like An this series is quiet, quirky, and offbeat...mixing food, of course, with characters a bit on the edge of Japanese society but entirely recognizable as classic Japanese characters. Tokyo is said to be not so much a big city as a collection of small villages and these are the kind of village characters that I might have come across in rural Kyushu.

It's so nice that Netflix is providing some alternative Japanese fare to the stereotypical anime, yakuza, or samurai flicks. Think what it would be like if American film (or the American people) was represented to the world only by Disney cartoons, cowboy films, and gangster movies.
-----------
Quote from the article, "The dishes recur throughout the episode as the characters return to the comforting embrace of the diner. Regardless of the turmoil in their lives, there will always be a seat at the counter, where the sage, omniscient Master will make their favorite dish and listen as they ponder their troubles."___

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2016-12-06 03:39:16 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Artifacts: A History of the Future in 100 Objects
A perfect complement to the book that began this collection, A History of the World in 100 Objects this imagined history of the future examines the 21st century through the eyes of historians in 2082.

Both introduce their collection with the same caveat, "This book is not the history of the 21st century; it is only a history, and a hundred objects can only tell a fraction of our stories."

Artifacts: A History of the Future in 100 Objects
A perfect complement to the book that began this collection, A History of the World in 100 Objects this imagined history of the future examines the 21st century through the eyes of historians in 2082.

Both introduce their collection with the same caveat, "This book is not the history of the 21st century; it is only a history, and a hundred objects can only tell a fraction of our stories."___

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2016-12-05 00:26:37 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Film: An (Sweet Bean)
This is a little film, a slight elegiac work, that seems very Japanese in that unabashedly sentimental way of Japanese drama. The Japanese love a tear-jerker. Maybe it's because they must maintain a stoic facade in public.

The an of the title is a jam made of beans (in this case, red adzuki beans) which is used as a filling for all kinds of baked goods: anpan, manju, and dorayaki, a sort of jelly sandwich made with two small pancakes instead of slices of bread and an filling.

The story concerns three misfits from three generations, who come together in the making of dorayaki. The movie is leisurely slow-paced. Nothing much happens. The moral is summed up in the end, as one character addresses and comforts another.

"You know, boss
We were born into this world
to see it and to listen to it.
Since that's the case,... more »

Film: An (Sweet Bean)
This is a little film, a slight elegiac work, that seems very Japanese in that unabashedly sentimental way of Japanese drama. The Japanese love a tear-jerker. Maybe it's because they must maintain a stoic facade in public.

The an of the title is a jam made of beans (in this case, red adzuki beans) which is used as a filling for all kinds of baked goods: anpan, manju, and dorayaki, a sort of jelly sandwich made with two small pancakes instead of slices of bread and an filling.

The story concerns three misfits from three generations, who come together in the making of dorayaki. The movie is leisurely slow-paced. Nothing much happens. The moral is summed up in the end, as one character addresses and comforts another.

"You know, boss
We were born into this world
to see it and to listen to it.
Since that's the case,
we don't have to be someone.
We have, each of us has,
meaning to our life."

------------
After watching it, I found this review in the Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/06/03/films/film-reviews/director-naomi-kawase-finally-made-real-japanese-film/#.WESpF1eQIko

"...at Cannes, critics hurled adjectives like “insipid,” “fluffy” and “sentimental,” much as I expected them to. So-called real Japanese movies are an acquired taste." I'd add that Japanese film tends to be refreshingly "uncool", lacking in Western-style cynicism.___

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2016-12-04 19:25:23 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Modelling: On the Importance of

Before you build the real thing, best build a model first.
Handmade scale model timber framed barn under construction (some years ago), using English oak and genuine miniature mortise and tenon joints. Dremmel tool came in very handy!
#timberframe #oak #model___Modelling: On the Importance of

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2016-12-03 01:55:52 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Film: Arrival, Soundtrack
Jóhann Jóhannsson once again collaborates with director Denis Villeneuve'. Both film and soundtrack are lighter and more otherworldly than Sicario, but once again Jóhannsson's sound adds weight, gravity, depth that the visuals alone would not have. A resonance?

Film: Arrival, Soundtrack
Jóhann Jóhannsson once again collaborates with director Denis Villeneuve'. Both film and soundtrack are lighter and more otherworldly than Sicario, but once again Jóhannsson's sound adds weight, gravity, depth that the visuals alone would not have. A resonance?___

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2016-12-03 01:33:21 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Film: Arrival
Saw this today. "The Sunday after the election, I watched this and wept. What a dream—to perceive instinctive purpose in what happens around us, to submit to that teleology, to enact it. What a fantasy, to imagine that we’ll be around to help anyone in three thousand years."

Film: Arrival
Saw this today. "The Sunday after the election, I watched this and wept. What a dream—to perceive instinctive purpose in what happens around us, to submit to that teleology, to enact it. What a fantasy, to imagine that we’ll be around to help anyone in three thousand years."___

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2016-12-02 00:37:52 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Gulf Fritillary: Agraulis vanillae
I was doing a bit of weeding when this bright orange beauty landed on my glove. The Gulf fritillary is one of those butterflies whose wing pattern is entirely different depending on whether you are looking at it from above or beneath. On the top, it is a DayGlo orange with black marks; beneath it is brown with big white spots and just a splash of orange.

After flitting from my glove, it landed on the Turks cap and stayed a long time, hardly moving. It was too cold for it to be very active...or maybe it's at the end of its life cycle.

Gulf Fritillary: Agraulis vanillae
I was doing a bit of weeding when this bright orange beauty landed on my glove. The Gulf fritillary is one of those butterflies whose wing pattern is entirely different depending on whether you are looking at it from above or beneath. On the top, it is a DayGlo orange with black marks; beneath it is brown with big white spots and just a splash of orange.

After flitting from my glove, it landed on the Turks cap and stayed a long time, hardly moving. It was too cold for it to be very active...or maybe it's at the end of its life cycle.___

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2016-11-30 14:45:57 (12 comments; 1 reshares; 28 +1s; )Open 

Travel: Beppu-shi, Japan
I lived in Beppu City for two years, one of the hot springs (onsen) capitals of Japan. Decades later I still miss being able to go for a soak in an onsen after a long day of running errands and shopping or having a soak with work colleagues after an official office party or function. Skinship!

When I lived in Beppu, the Sugunoi Hotel was the big "amusement park" -style resort hotel which most guide books highlighted. Even Dave Barry stayed there when writing his book, "Dave Barry Does Japan".

However, there are also many smaller, quieter, more old-fashioned onsen where you can enjoy a bit of solitude and nature. Still, going to the onsen is often a group activity and a family activity, too. Not all countries are as prurient about nudity as the USA, even though Americans have done their best since they've arrived to try to... more »

Travel: Beppu-shi, Japan
I lived in Beppu City for two years, one of the hot springs (onsen) capitals of Japan. Decades later I still miss being able to go for a soak in an onsen after a long day of running errands and shopping or having a soak with work colleagues after an official office party or function. Skinship!

When I lived in Beppu, the Sugunoi Hotel was the big "amusement park" -style resort hotel which most guide books highlighted. Even Dave Barry stayed there when writing his book, "Dave Barry Does Japan".

However, there are also many smaller, quieter, more old-fashioned onsen where you can enjoy a bit of solitude and nature. Still, going to the onsen is often a group activity and a family activity, too. Not all countries are as prurient about nudity as the USA, even though Americans have done their best since they've arrived to try to shame the Japanese about it.

-----
Sugunoi Hotel
http://www.suginoi-hotel.com/english/facilities/spa.html___

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2016-11-29 14:13:31 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Don't Put on a Happy Face
Two moving insights from the article...
...
I. On The Attitude of the Marginalized
"If there is a more persistent demand of the marginalized and oppressed than that they perform hope for their benefactors, it is difficult to find it. We have, of course, a nomenclature problem. When white allies want us to be hopeful what they really mean is that they require absolution in exchange for their sympathies. And, when black people say that they are plenty hopeful we tend to mean that our hope is tempered by a deep awareness of how thin is the veneer of white civility. Our grudging acceptance that progress and diversity are fragile bits of spun glass looks like hopelessness because it doesn’t absolve. But, it is the most enduring kind of hope and it is the hope that President-elect Donald Trump will require of us all if we’re to organizeand... more »

Politics: Don't Put on a Happy Face
Two moving insights from the article...
...
I. On The Attitude of the Marginalized
"If there is a more persistent demand of the marginalized and oppressed than that they perform hope for their benefactors, it is difficult to find it. We have, of course, a nomenclature problem. When white allies want us to be hopeful what they really mean is that they require absolution in exchange for their sympathies. And, when black people say that they are plenty hopeful we tend to mean that our hope is tempered by a deep awareness of how thin is the veneer of white civility. Our grudging acceptance that progress and diversity are fragile bits of spun glass looks like hopelessness because it doesn’t absolve. But, it is the most enduring kind of hope and it is the hope that President-elect Donald Trump will require of us all if we’re to organize and resist."

II. On Dismissing the Experience of the Marginalized
"These colleagues, the professionally smart, seemed dismayed that the black woman they’d been brave enough to think smart could believe a President Trump was possible. They were dismayed but not surprised. Women and black people always have a potential blind spot where race and gender are concerned. It is why we’re so emotional and irrational. We just cannot see past our unscientific claims of racism and sexism to be truly professionally smart. Our models, in the parlance of the professionally smart, are always just a bit skewed."

---
via +George Station ___

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2016-11-29 02:18:01 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Electoral College Landslides
Out of 54 contests, Trump ranks 44th in percentage of electoral votes won, just above JFK but below Harry S. Truman. The next three presidents on the list more popular than Trump are Martin Van Buren, James A. Garfield and Benjamin Harrison. Ah, to be as wildly beloved as those guys.

Politics: Electoral College Landslides
Out of 54 contests, Trump ranks 44th in percentage of electoral votes won, just above JFK but below Harry S. Truman. The next three presidents on the list more popular than Trump are Martin Van Buren, James A. Garfield and Benjamin Harrison. Ah, to be as wildly beloved as those guys.___

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2016-11-27 20:49:38 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Lifehacks: Living in the Moment...Fuck That!
Finally! Someone else pushing back against the "mindfulness" hooey. Sure, it's fine to appreciate a moment...a really fine moment, but don't knock anticipation and reflection. Face it, the people who live continuously "in the moment" have Alzheimer's...not something I aspire to. I prefer my life with a strong narrative arc, where individual moments are imbued with meaning stemming from context.

Not all our moments are equally good and during the really bad ones, it's amazing that we have the capacity to imagine ourselves elsewhere. Sure if you're hiking in Patagonia, focus on the moment. If you are working in a sweat shop, let yourself dream of better futures.

---------------
From the article...

"On the face of it, our lives are often much more fulfilling lived outside... more »

Lifehacks: Living in the Moment...Fuck That!
Finally! Someone else pushing back against the "mindfulness" hooey. Sure, it's fine to appreciate a moment...a really fine moment, but don't knock anticipation and reflection. Face it, the people who live continuously "in the moment" have Alzheimer's...not something I aspire to. I prefer my life with a strong narrative arc, where individual moments are imbued with meaning stemming from context.

Not all our moments are equally good and during the really bad ones, it's amazing that we have the capacity to imagine ourselves elsewhere. Sure if you're hiking in Patagonia, focus on the moment. If you are working in a sweat shop, let yourself dream of better futures.

---------------
From the article...

"On the face of it, our lives are often much more fulfilling lived outside the present than in it. As anyone who has ever maintained that they will one day lose 10 pounds or learn Spanish or find the matching lids for the Tupperware will know, we often anticipate our futures with more blind optimism than the reality is likely to warrant."

"Surely one of the most magnificent feats of the human brain is its ability to hold past, present, future and their imagined alternatives in constant parallel, to offset the tedium of washing dishes with the chance to be simultaneously mentally in Bangkok, or in Don Draper’s bed, or finally telling your elderly relative that despite her belief that “no one born in the 1970s died,” using a car seat isn’t spoiling your child. It’s hard to see why greater happiness would be achieved by reining in that magical sense of scope and possibility to outstare a SpaghettiO."

"What differentiates humans from animals is exactly this ability to step mentally outside of whatever is happening to us right now, and to assign it context and significance. Our happiness does not come so much from our experiences themselves, but from the stories we tell ourselves that make them matter."___

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2016-11-24 02:19:30 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Class and Instance
The same type of red oak. Two trees. Different leaves. Different acorns.

Class and Instance
The same type of red oak. Two trees. Different leaves. Different acorns.___

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2016-11-24 00:28:28 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 18 +1s; )Open 

Economy: They Took My Job

___Economy: They Took My Job

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2016-11-23 02:25:33 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Music: Another Brick in a Wall
I found this version oddly soothing.

"Another Brick in the Wall" played on traditional Korean gayageum http://boingboing.net/2016/11/21/listen-to-another-brick-in-t.html___Music: Another Brick in a Wall
I found this version oddly soothing.

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2016-11-23 00:35:05 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Women Work: NASA

Apollo software engineer Margaret Hamilton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom today by President Barack Obama for her contribution to the Apollo 11 moon landing 47 years ago. More: http://go.nasa.gov/2g0Xzuu___Women Work: NASA

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2016-11-20 16:03:42 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Game Theory: Heroes 101
From the article, "Now let’s look at the Predator side of the game. Predators love Heroes. They love Heroes because the people who potentially have the skill and expertise to intervene—and foil their hunt—have been so thoughtful as to wear an identifiable uniform. When a Predator sees a safety pin their reaction is not, “oh, I suppose I should change my ways”—it’s “if I wait until he or she goes away I can hunt without interruption.” The presence of a safety pin does makes the Predator’s life better by making it less risky for them to hunt. Think about that one a moment."

"The other reason Predators love Heroes is it’s so easy to impersonate a Hero. If a Predator wears a safety pin and then harasses a Victim, the Victim is going to further distrust Heroes—driving a wedge between them and the Heroes who exist to helpthem. So it’s in a Pre... more »

Game Theory: Heroes 101
From the article, "Now let’s look at the Predator side of the game. Predators love Heroes. They love Heroes because the people who potentially have the skill and expertise to intervene—and foil their hunt—have been so thoughtful as to wear an identifiable uniform. When a Predator sees a safety pin their reaction is not, “oh, I suppose I should change my ways”—it’s “if I wait until he or she goes away I can hunt without interruption.” The presence of a safety pin does makes the Predator’s life better by making it less risky for them to hunt. Think about that one a moment."

"The other reason Predators love Heroes is it’s so easy to impersonate a Hero. If a Predator wears a safety pin and then harasses a Victim, the Victim is going to further distrust Heroes—driving a wedge between them and the Heroes who exist to help them. So it’s in a Predator’s best interest to wear a safety pin and masquerade as a Hero!"___

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2016-11-20 14:01:29 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Politics: The grotesquely abnormal became our normality
+George Takei said, "My father once told me that American democracy is a people’s democracy at heart, and that it therefore can be as great as the American people, or as fallible. It depends on all of us. But our system is more fragile than we know. To sustain it, we must always cherish the ideals on which it was founded, remain vigilant against the dark forces that threaten it, and actively engage in the process of making it work. The election may not have turned out the way many hoped, but we must take each setback as a challenge to stand up ever taller."

"I am rededicating the balance of my years to hold this country I love up to its highest ideals. I want to make a more perfect union, and require our government to stand for what is right, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. Our fight will be harderun... more »

Politics: The grotesquely abnormal became our normality
+George Takei said, "My father once told me that American democracy is a people’s democracy at heart, and that it therefore can be as great as the American people, or as fallible. It depends on all of us. But our system is more fragile than we know. To sustain it, we must always cherish the ideals on which it was founded, remain vigilant against the dark forces that threaten it, and actively engage in the process of making it work. The election may not have turned out the way many hoped, but we must take each setback as a challenge to stand up ever taller."

"I am rededicating the balance of my years to hold this country I love up to its highest ideals. I want to make a more perfect union, and require our government to stand for what is right, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. Our fight will be harder under a Donald Trump administration, there is little doubt. But we must recommit ourselves, each of us, to ensuring that we treat all persons equally, that every individual and community retains a voice, and that at all times we have got each other’s backs. Nothing is more vital."___

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2016-11-20 02:16:50 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Are You Lost

Are You Lost___

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2016-11-19 01:44:20 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Farewell, America: Living for History
Bill Moyers, ". ..the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us."

"We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history."

Politics: Farewell, America: Living for History
Bill Moyers, ". ..the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us."

"We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history."___

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2016-11-19 01:33:57 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s; )Open 

Generation Landslide

Generation Landslide___

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2016-11-18 18:58:29 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Film: The Crown
Reeling from the American election, I sought a bit of civility in politics by binging on Netflix's The Crown. I enjoyed the central theme of the struggle between individual desire and the social and civic obligations one assumes through position or work. Privilege, yes. But also duty and sacrifice for the common good, the commonwealth.

Film: The Crown
Reeling from the American election, I sought a bit of civility in politics by binging on Netflix's The Crown. I enjoyed the central theme of the struggle between individual desire and the social and civic obligations one assumes through position or work. Privilege, yes. But also duty and sacrifice for the common good, the commonwealth.___

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2016-11-18 02:22:37 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

In the aftermath of the election, President Obama talks with David Remnick: “I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.”

In the aftermath of the election, President Obama talks with David Remnick: “I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.”___

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2016-11-17 15:37:22 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 20 +1s; )Open 

Portals and Passages: Cobbled Streets
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. philos. adelphos. Founded by Quakers who experienced religious persecution and who wanted a colony where anyone could worship freely.

Portals and Passages: Cobbled Streets
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. philos. adelphos. Founded by Quakers who experienced religious persecution and who wanted a colony where anyone could worship freely.___

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2016-11-17 03:21:03 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

"Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can."

Hillary Clinton Full Children’s Defense Fund Speech
"Clinton went on to say, however, that the work of those at the Children’s Defense Fund inspired her to pick herself back up. She later said that she was deeply disappointed in the results of the election “more than I could ever express,” but that the campaign was never about one person or one election.
"She also said that many Americans are afraid this week, recounting a story of meeting with a little girl who was afraid that her parents were going to be deported, saying that there is clearly a lot of work to do. "Clinton recommended that Americans across the country get involved in their communities.
"As a more positive sentiment, Clinton said that she was happy that there was a consensus in this campaign that there needed to be reforms made when it comes to child care and paid family leave.
Clinton concluded by telling her supporters to continue fighting for their values and to never give up.
“I know this isn’t easy,” she said. “I know that over the past week people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was…But please listen to this when I say this: America is worth it.”
http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/watch-hillary-clinton-full-speech-to-the-children-defense-fund-after-election-entire-video-youtube/

#HillaryClinton #StillWithHer #ChildrensDefenseFund  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQgE_jzIlBY___"Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can."

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2016-11-17 00:55:57 (6 comments; 6 reshares; 47 +1s; )Open 

Travel Philadelphia: The Liberty Bell
"America and the Classical Ideal. Both the past and the present had lessons to teach the New World philosophers. They hoped to avoid the mistakes of history, learn from its experience, and apply this knowledge to their new reality. Belief in the classical ideal, while not universal, still heavily influenced most spheres of 18th-century life."

"Through their poems, histories, and plays, the early Roman Republic and ancient Athenian Greece offered examples of noble men who devoted their lives to the public welfare. These heroes exhibited the admirable qualities of frugality, industry, loyalty, and "disinterestedness" a desire for fame but not a lust for power."

"More than a millennium after corruption and war destroyed ancient Rome, European intellectuals built upon the fundamental truths they... more »

Travel Philadelphia: The Liberty Bell
"America and the Classical Ideal. Both the past and the present had lessons to teach the New World philosophers. They hoped to avoid the mistakes of history, learn from its experience, and apply this knowledge to their new reality. Belief in the classical ideal, while not universal, still heavily influenced most spheres of 18th-century life."

"Through their poems, histories, and plays, the early Roman Republic and ancient Athenian Greece offered examples of noble men who devoted their lives to the public welfare. These heroes exhibited the admirable qualities of frugality, industry, loyalty, and "disinterestedness" a desire for fame but not a lust for power."

"More than a millennium after corruption and war destroyed ancient Rome, European intellectuals built upon the fundamental truths they attributed to the ancients in new works on science, art, government, and religion. These "enlightened" philosophers wrote about natural law, the rights of man, and the power of reason to govern human action."

"Committed to the classical ideal of res publica or "public good" some English politicians (called Whigs) worried that special interests threatened the future of their Commonwealth by corrupting the King and Parliament, just as these same forces had destroyed ancient Rome."___

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2016-11-16 18:38:39 (2 comments; 3 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Blue Feed, Red Feed
From the Wall Street Journal
-----------------
"Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger—or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources. Facebook encourages users to “keep an open mind” by seeking out posts that don’t appear in their feeds."

"To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren'tintended to resemble actual ind... more »

Politics: Blue Feed, Red Feed
From the Wall Street Journal
-----------------
"Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger—or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources. Facebook encourages users to “keep an open mind” by seeking out posts that don’t appear in their feeds."

"To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren't intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives."

"To begin, click on a topic. Be forewarned: These Facebook posts do not represent the reporting or opinion of The Wall Street Journal, and are not verified, edited or endorsed in any way. Read our Methodology."

http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/

Related: The Guardian
Bursting the Facebook Bubble
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/16/facebook-bias-bubble-us-election-conservative-liberal-news-feed___

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2016-11-15 13:19:09 (19 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Politics: To Those Who Didn't Show Up
From the article, "Of course, there will still be those voters who snarl, “She didn’t earn my vote,” as if somehow their narcissism should override all other considerations in the election. That, however, is not what an election is about. Voters are charged with choosing the best person to lead the country, not the one who appeals the most to their egos."

"If you voted for Trump because you supported him, congratulations on your candidate’s victory. But if you didn’t vote for the only person who could defeat him and are now protesting a Trump presidency, may I suggest you shut up and go home. Adults now need to start fixing the damage you have done."

----------
ht +Craig Froehle 

Politics: To Those Who Didn't Show Up
From the article, "Of course, there will still be those voters who snarl, “She didn’t earn my vote,” as if somehow their narcissism should override all other considerations in the election. That, however, is not what an election is about. Voters are charged with choosing the best person to lead the country, not the one who appeals the most to their egos."

"If you voted for Trump because you supported him, congratulations on your candidate’s victory. But if you didn’t vote for the only person who could defeat him and are now protesting a Trump presidency, may I suggest you shut up and go home. Adults now need to start fixing the damage you have done."

----------
ht +Craig Froehle ___

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2016-11-15 01:29:38 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Our Pilot is a Wombat
Eh, +Peter Strempel? What say you this besmirching of the fair wombat honor?

Our Pilot is a Wombat
Eh, +Peter Strempel? What say you this besmirching of the fair wombat honor?___

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2016-11-14 22:45:08 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Potential: Datura inoxia

Potential: Datura inoxia___

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2016-11-13 01:49:42 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 20 +1s; )Open 

Travel Ukraine: Founding of Kiev
"The monument dedicated to founders of Kiev was built in a scenic park on the banks of Dnieper in 1982. It consists of the copper-forged boat with a more-than-natural figures of three brothers Kyi, Schek, Horiv and their sister Lybid. There is the symbolical light-lit pool under the boat."

The legend: http://www.infoukes.com/history/origin_of_kyiv/

Travel Ukraine: Founding of Kiev
"The monument dedicated to founders of Kiev was built in a scenic park on the banks of Dnieper in 1982. It consists of the copper-forged boat with a more-than-natural figures of three brothers Kyi, Schek, Horiv and their sister Lybid. There is the symbolical light-lit pool under the boat."

The legend: http://www.infoukes.com/history/origin_of_kyiv/___

2016-11-13 00:52:20 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

A blast from the past.

UX: Appliances versus Tools-Are You a User or a Maker?
Writing on Google+ has made me aware that I see applications as tools - a set of features I want to fiddle with in order to figure out what I can do with it. Other people see applications as an appliances. Appliances are built to accomplish a specific task and you hope it has the features to do it well. Most people don't try to deconstruct their dishwasher to see if it can be used for something other than washing dishes.

I'm more interested in what something can do than what it's intended to do. So when Google+ implemented Pages and issued the invitation to "Create a Page", I did. I saw that although Pages provide a way for business and brands to have a presence on Google+, Pages are not just for brands. They can be for organizations or events (Google needs to create a category for Events). If you're writing a book, a website, or a blog, Pages can verify authorship to Google (via Direct Connect) so that search will point to your original content rather than the people who scrape your content. Individuals can use Pages to interact with Pages so that they can keep non-individual entities at bay.

When the tech journos and PR machines tie Pages to brands, not only do they cut off Page's potential usefulness to us ordinary individuals, they throw people into tizzy. "Oh! The brands are here. That's the end of Google+." I'm completely mystified by the disconnect between the PR about Pages (they're for brands) and the interface which touts "Create a Page" almost everywhere you look (they're for everybody).

Stop telling me what it's for and start telling me what I can do.

Looking back, I see I had the same issue with Circles. The default labels of Circles and the idea that you had to sort your friends into various circles complicated the mental model and initially put a lot of people off Google+. As one of my blog friends remarked, "I don't get it. I keep sorting people into circles...then what?"

Worse were the guys who wanted a Circle appliance. "Why can't Google+ sort my circles for me and find only the things I'm interested in reading?" Lift not a finger. Why be social when your machines can be social for you?

My ability to see through the PR and look at the feature set has sometimes led to disappointment. I'm still not over my frustration with the hashtag implementation that is actually a keyboard shortcut for keyword search. I'm still explaining the messaging system that is just a third way to access the existing feature of addressing a post to a specific person. Again, this is not so much a problem of what these features do or don't do. My disappointment stemmed from how expectations were set, both in the announcement and the labeling of these features.

The biggest revelation I had this morning was not about tools or appliances. My revelation was that I see the world differently, that I'm so unlike the majority of people--people who don't want tools, only appliances; people who aren't curious enough to explore before adding a panicked opinion to a discussion; people who can't be bothered to try this workaround or to learn this shortcut. If the appliance doesn't work as expected, they bang on it and complain. If you offer them a solution, it's too much trouble. It's just a hack.

I like to fiddle with things. For me, everything's a hack. The best thing about Google+ is that I've met so many people who are like me. Curious explorers. Irrepressible tinkerers. This is one echo chamber I'm going to maintain.
#UX___A blast from the past.

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2016-11-10 16:10:45 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

My Engineered House: Failure is Inevitable
Probably the most encouraging guiding principle I got from reading Guru Madhavan's Applied Minds: How Engineers Think was the revelation that failure is inevitable. Our job, then, is to explore the points of failure so that we can reduce them. Where we cannot avoid failures, we must develop contingencies plans for dealing with them or recovering from them.

I find it difficult to express just how freeing this idea is to me, someone who is often nearly paralyzed with perfectionism. As the eldest in a highly competitive family, I liked the heady feeling of besting others. I also knew that in the chain-of-command, if something went wrong (if one of my younger siblings did something or if something happened to them), I'd be blamed.

Over the years this made me risk-averse, unwilling to try something unless already knew I could... more »

My Engineered House: Failure is Inevitable
Probably the most encouraging guiding principle I got from reading Guru Madhavan's Applied Minds: How Engineers Think was the revelation that failure is inevitable. Our job, then, is to explore the points of failure so that we can reduce them. Where we cannot avoid failures, we must develop contingencies plans for dealing with them or recovering from them.

I find it difficult to express just how freeing this idea is to me, someone who is often nearly paralyzed with perfectionism. As the eldest in a highly competitive family, I liked the heady feeling of besting others. I also knew that in the chain-of-command, if something went wrong (if one of my younger siblings did something or if something happened to them), I'd be blamed.

Over the years this made me risk-averse, unwilling to try something unless already knew I could master it and quickly abandoning things that I could not. The idea that "failure is not an option" became deeply imprinted on my psyche.

Reminding myself that the engineering mindset is a disciplined approach to testing for failure...for pushing our limits to the point of failure and then figuring out what to do next is very calming to me. Failure is no longer something to be ashamed of; it's something to seek out, to use as a tool for improvement.

What could go wrong? Everything. Good! Let's start with that.
--------------------------
Video: Kadena AFB. 1966. My dad, a fighter pilot, loved to build radio-controlled model planes. The Roadrunner, his most beautiful model, handcrafted from a set of plans (that is, not a kit), turned out not to be fit for purpose.___

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2016-11-10 00:26:04 (2 comments; 3 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

My Engineered House: Applied Minds
"When you build a house, the professional skill may come from others, but the thinking has to be done by you." So begins Rex Roberts in the book that so influenced me as a teen, Your Engineered House. When Roberts proposes to help us readers engineer our houses, his goal is to show us how to "decide for yourself, without regard for style, type, sales pressure or advertising, what you want and what you need."

Only a few months ago, I read Guru Madhavan's Applied Minds: How Engineers Think. His book explains in much more detail the engineering mindset. In some ways, Applied Minds is the theory and Your Engineered House provides one example of putting those theories to use. Both are focused on the question "how do we make it work?"and both stress that it's not going to work the same way for everyone.
... more »

My Engineered House: Applied Minds
"When you build a house, the professional skill may come from others, but the thinking has to be done by you." So begins Rex Roberts in the book that so influenced me as a teen, Your Engineered House. When Roberts proposes to help us readers engineer our houses, his goal is to show us how to "decide for yourself, without regard for style, type, sales pressure or advertising, what you want and what you need."

Only a few months ago, I read Guru Madhavan's Applied Minds: How Engineers Think. His book explains in much more detail the engineering mindset. In some ways, Applied Minds is the theory and Your Engineered House provides one example of putting those theories to use. Both are focused on the question "how do we make it work?"and both stress that it's not going to work the same way for everyone.

Together these two books are the bookends on the shelf containing my own discoveries, both personal and professional, in user experience design.

Madhavan considers the elements of the engineering mindset an ability to see components and the relationships among them, the ability to work within constraints, and the ability to make design trade-offs.

Components are important because modular design makes step-wise improvement easier.In house construction, modular design (whether it's tatami or SIPs) reduces construction waste by using materials efficiently. In home construction, we might consider the various component systems (heating, plumbing, electricity, ventilation, daylighting) separately, we must also understand how they work together when integrated.

Constraints in home-building are fairly standard to any development project: schedule and budget. Houses also come with books full of design constraints in the form of building codes and permitting.

Where Rex Roberts is trying to shake us up and make us think about our houses is in those self-imposed constraints, our preconceptions of what a house should look like, the size and number and type of rooms, and how they are laid out.

The process of engineering requires a disciplined approach to problem-solving: modeling solutions, testing them, improving upon them or dismissing them.

I love building models...actual 3D ones (out of cardboard and paper) or virtual ones using SketchUp (after hand sketching my designs).What I've found to be most useful is to model ideas that I want to dismiss out of hand, either because I don't like them aesthetically or I don't think they will work for me. My library of "failed" models has become an important resource to me whenever I (or someone else asks me), why didn't we do it this way? I can show them the model and say, "We tried, but it didn't work for this reason.
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Photo: Paul Cremoux's The Nirau House.
I love this staircase and bookcase and the pod divider which has the powder room. I also like the color scheme.
http://paulcremoux.com/en/2014/07/casa-nirau/___

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2016-11-08 19:07:31 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Stand Up to the Bully
The incident happened forty years ago; still my brother speaks of it with shame and regret. The day he didn't stand up to the bully.

The bully was his roommate. The place was the Air Force Academy. And the year was the first one in which women were admitted to the Academy. A lot of the male students didn't like it. The class of 1979 proclaimed themselves the LCWB (Last Class with Balls) in contrast with the class of 1980 which men and women alike were dubbed Eighties Ladies.

I don't know whether because our fighter pilot dad and our teacher mom set a good example in respecting each other, or whether it was growing up in a family where the girls outnumbered the boys 5 to 3, but as my brother says, "Personally, I liked that the women of the Class of 1989 were there. It made our class seem like we were breaking new ground, that the... more »

Stand Up to the Bully
The incident happened forty years ago; still my brother speaks of it with shame and regret. The day he didn't stand up to the bully.

The bully was his roommate. The place was the Air Force Academy. And the year was the first one in which women were admitted to the Academy. A lot of the male students didn't like it. The class of 1979 proclaimed themselves the LCWB (Last Class with Balls) in contrast with the class of 1980 which men and women alike were dubbed Eighties Ladies.

I don't know whether because our fighter pilot dad and our teacher mom set a good example in respecting each other, or whether it was growing up in a family where the girls outnumbered the boys 5 to 3, but as my brother says, "Personally, I liked that the women of the Class of 1989 were there. It made our class seem like we were breaking new ground, that the country was progressive and forward-thinking and that we, my class were leaders in this sense. We had graduated high school in the year of our nation's Bicentennial Celebration, and now we were the first class at the service academies with women. We were special."

However, one day my brother failed to stand up for his classmate, Karen Lange. As his roommate made fun of her, my brother sniggered along with the other guys. When you're 18, it's easy to find acceptance in the group by making an example of someone outside the group. You play along because, if you don't, tomorrow it might be you on the outs. When the bullies run free, we all know how precarious our position is and none of us wants to call attention to ourselves.

In our silence we become complicit. Just letting it slide can sometimes haunt us for a lifetime.___

2016-11-07 23:28:09 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Politics: Let Me Count The Ways

The Trump lies you don't hear fact-checked

I don't make a habit of listening to Donald Trump speeches, but you can't help but stumble upon them sometimes when you turn on the news (until tomorrow, thank God!)....

He was just talking about how interim DNC chair and former CNN analyst Donna Brazile gave Hillary Clinton "the questions" for "the debates". This is a misleading statement, sure, but one that has been fact-checked a lot. That's not what this post is about.

But after bringing this up, he continued to riff: "I wonder if she gave her the answers, too? We just don't know...."

The man was in over a dozen debates; he knows that a political debate isn't an oral pop quiz, the moderator doesn't have "answers". But when he said this obviously false thing — no surprise there, alas — it was also a very stupid thing to say. He's feigning ignorance of something that isn't the kind of thing any other politician, as far as I know, feigns ignorance of.

This is an character fault/strategy of Trump that's particularly craven.

It's like how he complains about how there's always a camera fixed on him at his events, not swinging around to show the crowd, or protesters, or particular supporters. He knows that's the press pool camera, the single camera providing a video feed that all the news outlets share for the best view of the candidate, while each network's own cameras roam freely. (Well, "freely" within the bounds of the press pool pen, a 2016 campaign innovation that I could write a whole essay on itself.)

This isn't a secret. He's told reporters he knows this, that he knows how the pool camera works. But yet he still acts like he doesn't.

It's all just more false "man of the peepul" bullshit. He figures the Ordinary American doesn't know or care how television works or how debates work, so he can just knowingly say false things purely for the emotional valence, detached entirely from truth, with no consequences. To the contrary, with only positive consequences from his perspective.

Here's a short reminder of some of them:

Why are so many dead people still on the voter rolls? Because dead people voting isn't a problem, nor is live people voting in dead people's names, but mistakenly erasing someone off the rolls is a very big problem. So getting dead names off the rolls is neither a priority for boards of elections, nor something that can be done aggressively without causing voter suppression, nor something that's necessary to prevent voter fraud. He knows this. But he says it anyway.

So many about Russia... Russia has entered Ukraine; in fact, Russia annexed a huge part of Ukraine less than three years ago. Russia is responsible for a number of cyberattacks on institutions of American democracy, particularly on the Democratic Party side. Russia has been testing the waters for a possible cyberattack on the election itself, whether directly against election-gathering and counting machines and networks, or indirectly by just creating havoc tomorrow. Russia has been feeding Wikileaks material (what in post-Soviet propaganda terms is called kompromát, information that could be found about almost anybody but that is nonetheless compromising when targeted). He knows these things; he's been repeatedly told them in his national security briefings. But he denies them anyway.

A younger Arkansas attorney Hillary Rodham had little or no choice but to represent an accused child rapist when the court assigned her as his defender. Our adversarial criminal justice system would fall apart unless every criminal defendant, no matter how heinous their (real or alleged) crime, was able to secure counsel. Publicly attacking lawyers who were appointed public defenders—questioning their morality based on the people they defended—is something that can get you sanctioned if you are an attorney yourself. Donald Trump is not an attorney, so no ethics board is going to censure him. But he doesn't have to be a lawyer to know why we simply do not criticize defense attorneys in general—but most especially public defenders—for the wickedness of those they defended. He knows this. But he says it anyway.

Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is a pollster, and by all accounts a competent one. He knows that when leaked stolen Clinton campaign emails courtesy Wikileaks talk about "oversampling", that they're talking about an accepted statistical practice of surveying more people belonging to minority groups so as to get a decent sample of the minority group; that way, statistical questions can be asked about that minority demographic. He knows that after oversampling, pollsters then reweight those answers to account for their greater-than-average sample size.

(To give a gross example, if you wanted to survey a group of voters on their candidate preferences and you also wanted to know the preferences of a minority group representing 10% of the population, you might include a 30% share of that group in your survey to answer the second question, but you would only count each of their answers 1/3 as much in the broader first question.)

He also knows that this isn't Gallup; the polling discussed in the campaign emails was internal polling for the campaign's use, never to be released to the public, so even if it were using a statistically shady practice (it wasn't), it would only result in the Clinton campaign screwing itself with bad analysis. He knows this. But he says it's an example of how the election's been "rigged" anyway.

He knows that if his various immigration proposals were all put into effect, that not only would it cause a depression; or result in human rights violations in contradiction of not just specific treaties the United States is a party to but the UN charter; or cause mass human suffering to both natural-born and naturalized citizens of the United States with relatives who are undocumented; that it wouldn't improve crime rates (and in fact would likely make crime worse by removing safe havens for undocumented immigrants to report and give testimony about crimes without fearing deportation); he also knows that, were all his policies put into effect, that his own wife would be subject to revocation of her citizenship and deportation. He knows all this. But he says it anyway.

He knows that, short of threatening war with Mexico, there's essentially no way to get them to pay for his wall. (He's admitted that the wall will have to be appropriated funding by Congress—in other words, be paid for by taxes.) But he says it anyway.

He knows that Hillary Clinton has had as demanding a campaign schedule as he has had—but she spends time on things he finds of little interest, instead of rallies which, in his mind, are all that count. He knows this. But he talks about Clinton's "sleeping for days" between events, darkly intimating that she's seriously ill and using this as a hook for his misogynistic "no stamina" line, anyway.

He knows that while, indeed, Hillary Clinton didn't give press conferences for months during the primary campaign, she's since given hundreds—in a period in which he's given none unless you count press conferences that were entirely for advertising Trump Organization properties. He knows this. But he attacks her reticence to speak to the press routinely.

And then there are things that he should know, but if his ignorance isn't feigned, are simply scary things for a prospective leader of the free world to claim not to know (or believe).

For instance, his repeated dumbfoundedness—displayed frequently in the general election debates—as to why the junior senator from New York couldn't singlehandedly pass a legislative agenda opposed by the majority party and the president in office at the time.

Or his apparent ignorance of what a special prosecutor is and how and why one is appointed.

Or why killing a domestic terrorist's family is, in his mind, neither unconstitutional nor an international war crime.

Or how it's impossible that the FBI could use something called "computer programs" to analyze 650,000 email messages in less time than it would take for a human to read them.

Or that the POTUS can just fire general officers of the military on his own say-so. Or why doing so, even if it were justified (it's not), wouldn't be disastrous to the armed forces.

Or that there are no good reasons why we shouldn't want South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia or other allies to have nuclear weapons.

Or that the only time Article 5 of NATO was invoked wasn't to call the other member nations to help protect the United States, rather than the other way around. Or why shaking down other NATO members for cash in exchange for the United States' full faith and credit somehow isn't distastefully reminiscent of a protection racket; that it would result in any remittances at all, and also doesn't just happen to be an outcome better for Russia than anything it could ask for.

Or that our military spending has gone down over the past decades. Or that our military's weaponry, ships, and aircraft are woefully outmatched by Russia's or China's.

Or that calling libel law "reform"—where "reform" seems to simply mean, "easier for Trump to sue and once he's sued, to win"—a top priority of his theoretical administration's first hundred days isn't terrifying. Or that the American people would somehow be served well by President Trump focusing on getting revenge on the women who have accused him of sexual assault. Or that the most important result of his proposed "reform" would be to go after these women, and not journalists.

Or that the science of global climate change is a hoax to somehow improve China's balance of trade.

Or that threatening his opponent with investigation, prosecution, and jailing is not an existential threat to our system of democracy.

Or that boasts of sexual assault is ordinary "locker room talk".

Or that President Barack Obama is not a legitimately-elected, natural-born citizen of the United States.

Or that no one respects women (or Latinos, or African-Americans) more than he.

Or that he has "the best temperament".

Or that, even if his advisers did feel they couldn't entrust him with his own Twitter account in the last week of the campaign, he can still be entrusted with the nuclear launch codes.

Or that he'll somehow have "great relationships" and work out "amazing deals" with powerful people, at home and abroad, that he's repeatedly insulted publicly in the grossest ways imaginable.

Or that there's an Alicia Machado sex tape.

Or that there's not soft-core porn starring Donald Trump.

Or that he's not the most unqualified, most poorly-tempered, and most uninformed major-party presidential candidate in history.

Or that he should be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office.

Or that you don't see through his small-minded pandering and egomaniacal raving.

Or that you won't vote tomorrow and show him that truth does matter, that reality does exist.

Or that, after tomorrow, he won't be—to use, from his perspective, the ultimate insult—a loser.
___Politics: Let Me Count The Ways

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2016-11-05 12:51:34 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 17 +1s; )Open 

Typography: Fonts Matter

___Typography: Fonts Matter

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