Category Archives: Blog
The protesters looked anxious as they rode down the escalator in San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis. A yoga bag slung over one of their shoulders hid a banner reading “Eviction Free San Francisco.” Another had a bullhorn tucked into her backpack. Two reached out to touch an inflatable, neon-blue lotus as they walked toward the conference hall.
—They were there to disrupt “Three Steps to Build Corporate Mindfulness the Google Way,” a panel on Google’s corporate mindfulness program at the 2014 Wisdom 2.0 conference. As the panelists began their introduction, protesters walked on stage, unfurled their banner, and began chanting “Wisdom Means Stop Displacement; Wisdom Means Stop Surveillance; San Francisco: Not For Sale!”
—The conference itself is an annual gathering of life coaches, tech elites and spiritual teachers now in its fifth year. It bills itself as a “conversation about the merging of wisdom and technology,” and topics range from mindful business and leadership to social entrepreneurship and innovation. Past speakers have included Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg, Twitter founder Biz Stone and Rwandan President (and possible war criminal) Paul Kagame. It even got its own “What to Wear” column at Forbes.
Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy document Afghanistan’s landays in I Am the Beggar of the World (PHOTOS).
July 1952. “Photographs show models posed leaning shoulders against mirrors, resulting in reflected images. Includes women wearing furs and jewels; various hairstyles.” Color transparency by Louis Faurer for the Look magazine assignment “Reflected Beauty: Hair Now Gets Double Exposure.”
Today’s picture shows a group of children working in the garden. The picture was taken around 1900 in the Washington DC area
The female of the species
The many lives of Frédéric Bourdin….by David Grann
On May 3, 2005, in France, a man called an emergency hot line for missing and exploited children. He frantically explained that he was a tourist passing through Orthez, near the western Pyrenees, and that at the train station he had encountered a fifteen-year-old boy who was alone, and terrified. Another hot line received a similar call, and the boy eventually arrived, by himself, at a local government child-welfare office. Slender and short, with pale skin and trembling hands, he wore a muffler around much of his face and had a baseball cap pulled over his eyes. He had no money and carried little more than a cell phone and an I.D., which said that his name was Francisco Hernandez Fernandez and that he was born on December 13, 1989, in Cáceres, Spain. Initially, he barely spoke, but after some prodding he revealed that his parents and younger brother had been killed in a car accident. The crash left him in a coma for several weeks and, upon recovering, he was sent to live with an uncle, who abused him. Finally, he fled to France, where his mother had grown up.
Roz Chast, a New Yorker cartoonist since 1978, is the author of the graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?,” which will be published in May.
An electromagnetic mystery in northern Iraq changed the course of Jesse Potter’s life. A chemical-weapons specialist with the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division, Potter was deployed to Kirkuk in late 2007, right as the oil-rich city was experiencing a grievous spike in violence. He was already weary upon his arrival, having recently completed an arduous tour in Afghanistan, which left him suffering from multiple injuries that would eventually require surgery. In the rare moments of peace he could find in Kirkuk, Potter began to contemplate whether it was time to trade in his uniform for a more tranquil existence back home—perhaps as a schoolteacher. Of more immediate concern, though, was a technical glitch that was jeopardizing his platoon: The jammers on the unit’s armored vehicles were on the fritz. Jammers clog specific radio frequencies by flooding them with signals, rendering cell phones, radios, and remote control devices useless. They were now a crucial weapon in the American arsenal; in Kirkuk, as in the rest of Iraq, insurgents frequently used cell phones and other wireless devices to detonate IEDs. But Potter’s jammers weren’t working. “In the marketplaces, when we would drive through, there’d still be people able to talk on their cell phones,” he says. “If the jamming systems had been effective, they shouldn’t have been able to do that.”
Balaklava, on the Crimean Peninsula. During the Soviet era the city was closed to the public for more than 30 years on account of an underground submarine base that was situated there.
Photo by Oksana Yushko
‘Unwanted people:’ A portrait of Crimea
via SLIDE SHOW.
Your brain is a complex organ. It is the controller of your body, your thoughts, your state of mind and your ultimately your life. There are some who abuse it, some who under- use it, and some who overuse it to the point of meltdown.
In this article we’ll look at dozens of tactics that will help you maintain your brain into old age and help to increase your mental agility and cognitive development.
On July 4th, 2012, the particle physics laboratory CERN announced the news. After more than 20 years of research and preparation, they’d finally found the Higgs boson, or a particle that looked an awful lot like it. It was touted as the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle of modern particle physics, justifying decades of theory and billions of dollars in experiments. The 17-mile, $4.4 billion Large Hadron Collider had proved its worth.
—At the same time and in the same place, there was a slightly more modest project taking shape. Physicist David Kaplan was getting it all on camera, with the goal of creating a documentary on the historic discovery. Years later that project is finally making it to the screen. Titled Particle Fever, the documentary looks at the excitements and fears of scientists involved in the project, as theoretical and experimental physicists came together to attempt to prove out theories that had already dominated the field for a decade.
New York — Six derelicts, five of them slumped against a Bowery tenement and the sixth stretched out on the pavement, answer questions regarding the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spasky chess match. The consensus… they couldn’t care less who wins. In fact, most Bowery residents don’t even know the two are playing in Reykjavik. (1972)… @r.
Central Intelligence Agency CHUCK KENNEDY — MCT
WASHINGTON — The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.
—The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.
Shirakawa and Gokayama are two Japanese villages located in Gifu Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture, respectively, known for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, many of which are more than 250 years old.
Gasshō-zukuri means “prayer-hands construction” and is a style characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. Shirakawa and Gokayama are two of the snowiest places in the world, and gasshō-zukuri homes were created because this climate. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allow the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region’s heavy snowfalls in winter.
Last December, a woman from the Syrian community in Toronto reached out to me for help after a Syrian opposition Facebook page, for which she was an administrator, was expunged from the internet. She told me that Facebook had deleted the page, called Likes for Syria, in mid December, by which time it had garnered more than 80,000 “likes.” Several Syrian Canadians had organized the page shortly after the revolution in Syria began, back in 2011, and used it as a tool for posting news stories about the crisis, spreading messages of hope, and creating awareness in the Western world—something that many feel is desperately needed.—“We feel like our freedom of speech has been totally taken away,” said Faris Alshawaf, another administrator for Likes for Syria. “We have a right to talk about what is happening.” Facebook had removed the page once before but quickly republished it after administrators made an appeal. Just days later, Facebook deleted the page a second time.
On May 31st, 1809, famed composer Joseph Haydn died, and he was soon buried in a simple ceremony—but his peaceful rest would not last long. Five days after his interment, a friend of his dug up his body and cut off his head. Joseph Carl Rosenbaum kept a detailed dairy chronicling his theft, noting that when he got into the carriage after severing the head, it smelled so bad that he almost vomited. It wasn’t until 11 years later, when Haydn’s body was to be moved to a different grave, that the authorities discovered that while the composer’s body remained in the coffin, all that was left of his head was the wig he was buried in.
—As strange as this may sound, Haydn is far from the only man to have had his head stolen.
The Bainbridge Rocks are a group of small rocky islets off the southeastern coast of Santiago Island, in Galápagos Archipelago. One of these islet is a volcanic crater, composed of compacted volcanic ash. Sea water had permeated the walls of this eroded crater, forming a stunning turquoise colored salt-water lake that attract large flocks of flamingoes.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands close to the equator in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 km from the South American continent and part of Ecuador. The extreme isolation of the islands and the surrounding marine reserve, located at the confluence of three ocean currents, has led to the development of unusual animal life and vast number of endemic species that piqued the interest of Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle in 1835. His observations of the flora and fauna on Galapagos Islands led him to develop the famed theory of evolution by natural selection.
[this book, written some years ago, well worth reading. The author died yesterday]
How We Die by Sherwin Nuland
Chatto, 278 pp, £15.99, May 1994, ISBN 0 7011 6169 8
‘He had never had a moment when death was not terrible to him,’ reports Boswell on the occasion of needling his famous friend with the news that the atheist philosopher David Hume had died well and without repentance. ‘The horror of death, which I had always observed in Dr Johnson, appeared strong tonight.’ Sherwin Nuland a surgeon from Yale, speaks to the Johnson in each of us, to our hunger for knowledge of our inevitable end: ‘Everyone wants to know the details of dying … we are irresistibly attracted by the very anxieties we find most terrifying.’
—Socrates tried to convince his students that it is irrational to fear death: ‘true philosophers make dying their profession.’ But his argument depends on a loathing of the body and on a belief that death is nothing but the soul’s separate existence under happier conditions in the next world. Neither position is likely to resonate favourably with many of us. As Socrates’ own students pointed out, this equanimity in the face of death was regarded by many as a sign of the philosopher’s madness.
I don’t recall reading poetry as a child. My father had some Betjeman and a tattered paperback of A P Wavell’s Other Men’s Flowers on the bookshelves under the stairs and, while I remember looking at the covers, I don’t think I opened them. Then, at the age of 13, our English teacher handed out two books, The Selected Poems of R S Thomas, and an anthology, Conflict and Compassion, edited by John Skull. I think they very possibly changed my life. The discovery that a collection of words that wouldn’t catch your attention when overheard on the bus can be arranged in an order that will move you more than kisses or rollercoaster rides. I still have both books. The anthology is particularly odd. It’s clearly intended for children – lots of white space, big font, themed sections illustrated by black and white photographs – except that the sections dealt, respectively, with nuclear war, violence, ageing, death, sickness, racism and the heartlessness of the modern city, and were accompanied by photographs of napalm victims, disfigured children, an old homeless man playing a violin in a rubbish tip, two fatal road accidents…
Karen Xu, a scientist at J. Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics, prepares samples of microorganisms from desert soil and rock. Credit Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times
—J. Craig Venter is the latest wealthy entrepreneur to think he can cheat aging and death. And he hopes to do so by resorting to his first love: sequencing genomes.
—On Tuesday, Dr. Venter announced that he was starting a new company, Human Longevity, which will focus on figuring out how people can live longer and healthier lives.
A shocking set of photographs reveals the injuries inflicted on asylum seekers detained at Manus Island.
—Asylum seekers have allowed photos to be taken for evidence. Some pose with ID, allowing their injuries to to be recorded. Others stand beside an image of Reza Barati above the words “We Never Forget”, taped to a wall.
—The photos, include images of bullet holes in walls, blood stained walls and pillows, and asylum seekers sleeping in an open-air pavilion.
—Some asylum seekers show gashes and stitches, with multiple head injuries. Many of them have bruised eyes and faces.
Last January, I joined my friend Vince Fong in co-founding FindMySong. Journeying through the incredible ups and downs of running a startup has been the most intense learning experience I can imagine.
Along the way, people began to take notice of what we were building. Some, who wanted to create startups of their own, began to seek out our advice. Most advice given to pre-preneurs centers around catchphrases like just solve a pain in the market! or have you read the Lean Startup? Today I want to step away from those tired lines. I want to shed light on the less glamorous side of running a startup and share the most important lesson I’ve learned:
“We would occasionally get stoned on the way to the film set. My main memory is of being in hysterics because for all of us, one of the great things about early pot was the sheer hysteria— the laughs. Things could appear very very funny, hilariously so. And nobody quite knew why we were laughing, and of course this made it even funnier. It was like little kids giggling at the dinner table. I remember one of the scenes, it was after lunch and we’d crept off into the bushes and come back a little bit sort of ‘Hi there!’ pretending we’d had a glass of wine too many or something.” – Paul McCartney
[...]In Fukushima, the experience of radiation is new—at least for anyone under 70—and the impulse is to flee. For many, the search for safer ground has now shifted to worry that no ground is safe; the Japanese will have no choice but to learn, like the Ukrainians, to abide that anxiety. Why do people stay? A lack of alternatives. A sense of duty. Deep ties to the land. Decent jobs. Because this is home.
If you lived here, would you stay?
Unknown Photographer, Studio Work at Vkhutemas, Moscow, (1928)…via.
Street Photography in London
Paul Martin is one of the photographers featured in a new exhibition of street photography at the Museum of London. Martin was the first photographer to use a disguised camera…
Outsiders is a new Motherboard series that delves into the lives of the unsung pioneers who have chosen to live beyond the grid in order to make their scientific dreams come true.
—Some people—myself not excluded—go to an office everyday because they can’t think of anywhere else to go. We practice the prompt repression of wild ideas in exchange for remunerative employment, which to some is considered to be a kind of meaningful existence. Doug Coulter is not that sort of worker.
—He may have started out behind a desk when he worked in the security business as a beltway bandit, coming up with signal processing and radio gadgets for our favorite three-lettered intelligence agencies, but in recent years, Doug’s chosen to explore his engineering interests in the isolated backwoods of Virginia, absent from any pesky boss or sticky bureaucracy.
These kayakers came across an abandoned 110-year-old ghost ship in a tributary just off the Ohio River. The photos are cool, but what’s more incredible is the history of this ship, and the things it has seen before it’s current resting place! Scroll down to see for yourself…
—One day, this kayaker and some friends came across what looked like an old ship-wreck in a tributary of the Ohio River…
Nature has so much to offer that if we look at the beauty of it we will be left star-struck…possibly forever. Presenting here are places out of a fairy tale…unbelievable but true!
Sebastião Salgado, Churchgate is the terminus station of the Western railroad line, built by the British; the railroad system covers much of India. The trains are notorious for being dangerously overcrowded, 1995 … via.