The New Yorker has a really cool interactive visual showing movements of folks using Citibikes through the months of June/July. It is a really interesting view into how people are using these much talked about additions to the NYC landscape. From the New Yorker’s quick analysis of the data:
A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District…Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement…On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city.
Before the DNA findings came in, Mr. Taylor and other team members said, the university team had assembled a mounting catalog of evidence that pointed conclusively at the remains being those of the king. These included confirmation that the body was that of a man in his late 20s or early 30s, and that his high-protein diet had been rich in meat and fish, characteristic of a privileged life in the 15th century.
Still more indicative, they said radiocarbon dating of two rib bones had indicated that they were those of somebody who died between the years 1455 and 1540. Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, 20 miles from Leicester, in August 1485.
Equally conclusive was the evidence available at the time the bones were unearthed — that they were found exactly where a 16th-century Tudor historian, John Rouse, had identified as the burial place, in a corner of the chapel in the Greyfriars priory, and with a distinctive spinal curvature that pointed to the remains being that of a sufferer from scoliosis, a disease that causes the hunchback appearance that has come down through history as Richard III’s most pronounced physical feature.
Of course, Richard III was the subject of a Shakespeare play of the same name. While the play did not paint Richard III in anything close to a favorable light, it did grace us with the memorable line: “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”
Here is a pretty fantastic article about the social centerpiece of growing up in the late 1970’s and 1980’s – the video game arcade. From the evolution of the arcade from pinball machines to Pac Man and Frogger, it has been a part of American youth for many many years, although it it could be argued that it did not hit it’s heyday until the 70’s and 80’s. Today, they are another casualty of the digital revolution with gaming consoles migrating to living rooms and basements around the world.
Whenever I visited an arcade, I usually found myself cursing at Galaxian, Galaga and every racing game within the joint. Today, I get my fix by heading out to the Pinball Wizards event, held every year at the Allentown Fair Grounds. And there is always the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, NJ.
The National Rifle Association has been largely silent since the shootings on Friday morning. On Monday, the home page of its Web site contained a blog post from Nov. 27, titled “More Guns, Less Crime in Virginia,” and the association’s Twitter account, which is normally active, has not sent a message since Friday.
Boston is well known for it’s distinctive neighborhood residents and the sheer insanity in which the streets in that city are laid out. And with this combination comes the question of what are the streets that define the “boundaries” each neighborhood?
Folks who live along the border (I mean, literally ON the border) of North Carolina and South Carolina are running into some issues because the states are re-calibrating the exact location of their shared border. One morning, these folks are paying South Carolina taxes and the next, they are citizens of North Carolina. At first, this may seem trivial, however for one guy who owns a gas station on land that he thought was in South Carolina, this border war is a major issue:
For example, one man owns land where he built a gas station in what he thought was South Carolina, but is now revealed to be North Carolina. He says his station will be worthless due to higher gas taxes in North Carolina, and that the business-boosting sales of fireworks is now illegal.
The governments of each of the states are assuring all people impacted (roughly 90) by the shift of the border will “be taken care of”, whatever that means. At least those folks who are unexpectedly becoming citizens of North Carolina can now support a basketball program (UNC – Chapel Hill) that has had decidedly more success than the program at the University of South Carolina.
A couple in Manchester, England had a surprise guest visit their wedding – The Queen of England and Prince Phillip. It turns out that the Queen was attending an event related to her Diamond Jubilee within the same church and when she was done, she “popped in” to greet the new happy couple. Below is the video of the exchange:
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (along with several other important 100th anniversaries including the opening of Fenway Park, the introduction of the Oreo Cookie, and the opening of L.L. Bean in Maine to name a few).
An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager: My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”
The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.
On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.
The process that the Nobel Prize committee goes through in evaluating candidates for their renowned awards has always been a bit of a black hole. A little window into that process was revealed recently when, per tradition, the documentation and notes from the comittee’s thinking is released to the public 50 years after the award is made.
Back in 1961, J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings epic were nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature but the Nobel committee felt his work was “second rate prose”. In addition to Tolkien, the Nobel committee dismissed the works of Robert Frost, EM Forster and other not to shabby writers.
The prose of Tolkien – who was nominated by his friend and fellow fantasy author CS Lewis – "has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality", wrote jury member Anders Österling. Frost, on the other hand, was dismissed because of his "advanced age" – he was 86 at the time – with the jury deciding the American poet’s years were "a fundamental obstacle, which the committee regretfully found it necessary to state". Forster was also ruled out for his age – a consideration that no longer bothers the jury, which awarded the prize to the 87-year-old Doris Lessing in 2007 – with Österling calling the author "a shadow of his former self, with long lost spiritual health".
“Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?” President Richard M. Nixon asked on June 23, 1972, his voice captured on tape in the Oval Office. He would find out soon enough. Without Kenneth H. Dahlberg, Nixon might not have become ensnared in the Watergate scandal and been forced to resign.
Mr. Dahlberg, who died on Tuesday (October 4, 2011) at 94, became the unwitting link between the Nixon re-election campaign and the five men who, only days before Nixon’s remark, were charged with breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington.
He had been a fund-raiser for Nixon’s re-election campaign, and his name was on a $25,000 cashier’s check that had been deposited in the bank account of one of the burglars, Bernard L. Barker. The money was to help cover the burglars’ expenses, and Mr. Barker had withdrawn that amount in $100 bills. He was carrying more than $5,000 when he was arrested on June 17 (1972).
If Woodward & Bernstein don’t uncover the connection between Dahlberg and the Committee to Re-Elect The President (Nixon), the whole Watergate connection between Nixon and Watergate may not have been made. Or, it would have been exceedingly harder to uncover the connection.
As Deep Throat said, “Follow the money”.
I’ve said it several times, but to me, the unraveling of the Watergate scandal is still one of the most fascinating stories in history.
There has been a lot of press over the past two days about a study regarding Spongebob Squarepants that psychologists Angeline Lillard and Jennifer Peterson from UVA ran. In the study, they examined three groups of twenty 4-year-olds (not to be confused with 24 year olds who watch Spongebob :) — one that watched SpongeBob for nine minutes, one that watched Caillou, and one that drew with crayons — and they determined that SpongeBob’s “fast-paced” format harmed the children’s memory, attention, and self-regulation.
The present study found that 9 minutes of viewing a popular fast-paced fantastical television show immediately impaired 4-year-olds’ [executive function], a result about which parents of young children should be aware.
This study is completely bogus for the simple fact that they did not test against the core audience that Spongebob is targeted towards – which is any kid over 6 (or stoned college students). Plus, the burden of knowing what is right and wrong for your kid to watch needs to be decided by the parent, not some study from UVA.
My son loves Spongebob. He takes a Spongebob view of the world – in that he sometimes relates things he sees or experiences in real life to Spongebob’s world. For example, from a post of mine a few years ago:
My son is a big fan of Spongebob Squarepants and all his cronies from the Krusty Krab (OK, Daddy watches it here and there too :). So a couple of weeks ago he was watching the “Who Bob, What Pants” episode, in which Spongebob suffers amnesia and somehow finds his way to a town unknown to him called New Kelp City. In his visit to New Kelp City, he is referred to as a “jobless deadbeat”.
So with this context, I take you to my son’s Kindergarten class. His teacher is talking to the class about the poor Economy and specifically discusses how people are losing their jobs and are unemployed. So as any good teacher would do, she reviews the discussion with the class to see who was paying attention. And during this review, she asks the class “So class, what is the word for people who are not working?”. And without missing a beat, my son raises his hand and blurts out “Jobless deadbeats!”.
I would have paid money to have seen his teacher’s face when he said this.
Supposedly, summer vacation happens because that’s when the kids are home from school, although having the kids home from school is no vacation. And supposedly the kids are home from school because of some vestigial throwback to our agricultural past.
This is nonsense. The little helping hands of farm children were needed during spring planting and fall harvest. (And they must have been more helpful than the little hands of today’s children, or our grandparents would have died of starvation.) Farm kids, if they went to school at all, went in midsummer and midwinter, when nothing much was doing around the barn.
Summer vacation is, in fact, based on horse crap. American urbanization predated the automobile. Horses and what they leave behind them clogged cities that were already insalubrious from coal smoke, industry and notional sewage systems. Come summer, it was vacation time because—if you had any sense, common or olfactory—you vacated.
I have to say, I love having the kids home from school but wow, it is a lot of work to keep them occupied and not at each other’s throats.