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Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature January 10, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Cool photos, Enviroment.
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animal-camouflage-photography-art-wolfe-1In this astonishing new book, legendary wildlife photographer Art Wolfe turns to one of nature’s most fundamental survival techniques: the vanishing act. His portraits show animals and insects disappearing into their surroundings, using deceptions, disguises, lures, and decoys to confuse the eye of both predator and prey. Click on this link and hit the “Slideshow” option and see how many you can find.

Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature | Art Wolfe Stock Photography 888-973-0011.


What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? June 5, 2010

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High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don’t start school until age 7. Yet by one international measure, Finnish teenagers are among the smartest in the world.

Finnish teachers pick books and customize lessons as they shape students to national standards. “In most countries, education feels like a car factory. In Finland, the teachers are the entrepreneurs,” says Mr. Schleicher, of the Paris-based OECD, which began the international student test in 2000.

One explanation for the Finns’ success is their love of reading. Parents of newborns receive a government-paid gift pack that includes a picture book. Some libraries are attached to shopping malls, and a book bus travels to more remote neighborhoods like a Good Humor truck.

via What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? – WSJ.com.

Effect Of Girls Reading “The Twilight Saga” July 13, 2008

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Op-Ed Columnist – A Virginal Goth Girl – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com
“Only a vampire, ladies,” said Jessica Valenti, the author of “Full Frontal Feminism.” She worries that in the real world, young men are spending so much time watching pornography on the Internet that they will never be satisfied with normal women and normal relationships.

This sure sounds like trouble to me: A generation of guys who will settle for nothing less than a porn star meets a generation of women who expect their boyfriend to crawl through their bedroom window at night and just nuzzle gently until they fall asleep.

It’s no wonder that Valenti sees today’s young women being pulled between complete chastity and utter sluttiness. Good girl or “Gossip Girl?” Courtney Martin, the author of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters,” spends a lot of time on college campuses and says students seem to be torn between anonymous sex and monogamy — “either hooking up with no expectations or you’re basically married. You stay home and watch movies.”

Books & Lovers April 1, 2008

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Essay About Love and Literary Taste – Books – Review – New York Times
Let’s face it — this may be a gender issue. Brainy women are probably more sensitive to literary deal breakers than are brainy men. (Rare is the guy who’d throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books.) After all, women read more, especially when it comes to fiction.

Some people just prefer to compartmentalize. “As a writer, the last thing I want in my personal life is somebody who is overly focused on the whole literary world in general,” said Ariel Levy, the author of “Female Chauvinist Pigs” and a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Her partner, a green-building consultant, “doesn’t like to read,” Levy said. When she wants to talk about books, she goes to her book group. Compatibility in reading taste is a “luxury” and kind of irrelevant, Levy said. The goal, she added, is “to find somebody where your perversions match and who you can stand.”

The Power Of Unreasonable People February 9, 2008

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The Age of Ambition – New York Times
In the ’60s, perhaps the most remarkable Americans were the civil rights workers and antiwar protesters who started movements that transformed the country. In the 1980s, the most fascinating people were entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who started companies and ended up revolutionizing the way we use technology.

Today the most remarkable young people are the social entrepreneurs, those who see a problem in society and roll up their sleeves to address it in new ways. Bill Drayton, the chief executive of an organization called Ashoka that supports social entrepreneurs, likes to say that such people neither hand out fish nor teach people to fish; their aim is to revolutionize the fishing industry. If that sounds insanely ambitious, it is. John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan title their new book on social entrepreneurs “The Power of Unreasonable People.”

Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw once said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” By this definition, some of today’s entrepreneurs are decidedly unreasonable–and have even been dubbed crazy.

Punk Capitalism January 8, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Economy & Business, Enviroment, Lifestyle, Music.
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The Pirate’s Dilemma
As piracy continues to change the way we all use information, how should we respond? Do we fight pirates, or do we learn from them? Should piracy be treated as a problem, or a solution? To compete or not to compete – that is the question – that is the Pirate’s Dilemma, perhaps one of the most important economic and cultural conundrums of the 21st Century.

When European governments failed to accept commercial radio, pirates began broadcasting from international waters, he writes. When Beijing banned the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” as “socially unhealthy,” pirates sold millions of copies. And when Western pharmaceutical companies declined to slash prices on AIDS drugs in developing countries, generic makers like Cipla Ltd. stepped in.

Though he doesn’t condone all piracy, Mason argues that it “transforms the markets it operates in, changing the way distribution works and forcing companies to be more competitive and innovative.” Corporate leaders are gradually accepting this reality, he says, citing Apple Inc.: The way to stop piracy, Jobs has said, “is by competing with it.”

This is Dr. Adrian Bowyer, who alongside his team of engineers at the University of Bath in England, is working on a project called the RepRap; an open source 3-D printer – a self-replicating machine that will one day be able to print out all of its own parts.

It has been hailed as “the invention that will bring down global capitalism, start a second industrial revolution and save the environment.”

C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success July 22, 2007

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C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success – New York Times
Serious leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to how to think, not how to compete. Forget finding the business best-seller list in these libraries.

Perhaps that is why — more than their sex lives or bank accounts — chief executives keep their libraries private.

Free Books Online July 20, 2007

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The Open Library

Now you can download books in the public domain in an easy to read Adobe Reader format, with easy page turning.

New Country – Richistan July 5, 2007

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The Wealth Report – WSJ.com : Why Richistan? Why Now?
The wealthy weren’t just getting wealthier — they were forming their own virtual country. They were wealthier than most nations, with the top 1% controlling $17 trillion in wealth. And they were increasingly building a self-contained world, with its own health-care system (concierge doctors), travel system (private jets, destination clubs) and language. (”Who’s your household manager?”) They had created their own breakaway republic — one I called Richistan.blogs_wealth_chart.gif

As the chart over there on the right shows, never before have so many Americans become so rich so quickly. The number of millionaire households at every level ($1 million, $10 million, $100 million) has more than doubled over the past decade. And there are no signs that the wealth explosion will slow.

The real story behind all this wealth, however, isn’t in the numbers. It’s in the people, and how they’re changing the culture and character of wealth in America. Richistan is largely about a country in flux — one in which Old Money is being shoved aside by self-made entrepreneurs, philanthropy is changing from passive check-writing to “high-engagement philanthropy,” and the progressive new rich are changing the politics of wealth. Most of all, Richistan is about the entertaining way that today’s rich are making, spending, donating and living with their wealth. (Like the guy in my book who has a house staff of 105 people.)

Hitchens Book Debunking The Deity Is Surprise Hit June 23, 2007

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Hitchens Book Debunking The Deity Is Surprise Hit – WSJ.com
Summer beach-reading season is just beginning, and already several books have broken out from the pack, such as Walter Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein, and Conn and Hal Iggulden’s “The Dangerous Book for Boys.”

But the biggest surprise is a blazing attack on God and religion that is flying off bookshelves, even in the Bible Belt. “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” by Christopher Hitchens, wasn’t expected to be a blockbuster.

Mr. Hitchens says he has received surprisingly little hate mail since his book was published. What does he think readers have learned from “God is Not Great?” “That your life is probably better led after you’ve outgrown the idea that the universe has a plan for you,” he says. “The cosmos isn’t designed with you in mind. You might as well just consult an astrological chart.”

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss May 24, 2007

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Review: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss by Claire Nouvian – New Species From Underwater – New York TimesCheck-out

We know more about the moon than the depths of our Oceans. Check-out the stunning pictures in this new book are in a slide show in this NY Times Book Review. Thanks to Potter at Island Resources. Check the Island Resources Web Site at http://www.irf.org/

22deep-600.jpgThe images arrayed here come from “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss” (University of Chicago Press, 2007), by Claire Nouvian, a French journalist and film director.

The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda April 22, 2007

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The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda | Salon Books
The godfather of the New Age led a secretive group of devoted followers in the last decade of his life. His closest “witches” remain missing, and former insiders, offering new details, believe the women took their own lives. What was a counter-culture icon on the cover of Time magazine has since been exposed as a fraud. In this Salon article it gets more sinister than that. Thanks to Bob Bopp for pointing this one out.

The Pirate Pose April 20, 2007

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The Pirate Pose – Executive Articles – Portfolio.com
Twenty years after Bonfire of the Vanities, the author checks in on the new masters of the universe and finds them even coarser and ruder than their predecessors could have ever imagined being.

A long (7,000 word) article by Tom Wolfe on the blue jean lifestyle of this new Gilded Age creation – The Hedge Fund Manager- to launch Vanity Fair’s new on-line magazine.

Überpower: The Imperial Temptation of America December 9, 2006

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Überpower: The Imperial Temptation of America

Pithy quotes from Joefre’s speech to the Cranegie Institute. He is the editor and publisher of Germany’s most seriously weekly, Die Zeit. He has taught at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, and most recently at Stanford, where he was a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

On the day when U.S. forces marched into Baghdad, back in Tehran—if they were allowed to do so—the champagne corks must have been popping (or the Muslim version, the orange juice corks.) They must have said, “Thank you, Great Satan, for three things:

“One, thank you for taking out our worst enemy to the west, Saddam Hussein, who had inflicted a murderous war on us in 1980, which cost us a million dead. Thank you, Great Satan, for wiping out this guy.”

“Thank you, secondly, Great Satan, for lifting the yoke of Sunni oppression from our Shiite brethren, empowering the Shiite minority. There’s a natural kinship between us and them.”

“And thank you, Allah,” they must have said at this point, “for entangling the United States in the great insurgency war to come, which we can manipulate at will. We can play it like a piano.” Which is exactly what they have been doing.
The consequences are pretty bitter. With U.S. power entangled in Iraq, it has left on a loose rein the one power that really was a threat to the United States. It was Iran that was building nukes. It was Iran that was sponsoring terrorism. It was Iran that had real—and has real—hegemony ambitions in the Middle East. (more…)

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) Quotes December 2, 2006

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Longshoreman Philosopher Eric Hoffer in 1950 wrote a book called “The True Believer, ” where he tracks mass movements throughout history. He includes some critical words about Christianity, but perhaps the most striking feature of his book is that he shows how religious and seemingly non-religious movement share many traits, and may sometimes be interchangeable: “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.”
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both. It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world.

“The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.” More about Eric Hoffer

Benard Lewis – Visionary Historian August 10, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Geopolitics, philosophy & politics, Religion.

It sounds like an Oxymoron, but Professor Benard Lewis understands the axiom thet “Those who don’t learn history are bound to repeat it”. In February of 1998, he read in an obscure Arabic paper, which was published in London, Bin Laden’s American Jihad declaration.

In 1990, The Atlantic published his prophetic warning to the West “The Roots of Muslim Rage”. He just happened to have his book “What went Wrong” come out at the time of 9/11, which catapulted him from academic obscurity to the best seller list and controversy.

The rage of Islam was no mystery to Mr. Lewis. To no great surprise, it issued out of his respect for the Muslim logic of things. For 14 centuries, he wrote, Islam and Christendom had feuded and fought across a bloody and shifting frontier, their enmity a “series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests.” For nearly a millennium, Islam had the upper hand. (more…)

The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam May 5, 2006

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The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam (Hardcover) > Read an Excerpt

The first of these is that a Muslim’s relationship with his God is one of fear. A Muslim’s conception of God is absolute. Our God demands total submission. He rewards you if you follow His rules meticulously. He punishes you cruelly if you break His rules, both on earth, with illness and natural disasters, and in the hereafter, with hellfire.

The second element is that Islam knows only one moral source: the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad is infallible.

The third element is that Islam is strongly dominated by a sexual morality derived from tribal Arab values dating from the time the Prophet received his instructions from Allah, a culture in which women were the property of their fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, or guardians. The essence of a woman is reduced to her hymen. (more…)

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