I haven’t tried this yet. I’m concerned about the time it will now take me to tie my shoes…
How to Tie Your Shoes
Terry Moore | TED | Feb 05
____________________________________________________________________________ Terry Moore directs the Radius Foundation in New York, which, as its website says, “seeks new ways of exploring and understanding dissimilar conceptual systems or paradigms — scientific, religious, philosophical, and aesthetic — with the aim to find a world view of more complete insight and innovation. The Radius Foundation is a forum for different views.” The foundation has published several works that examine the intersection of religion and metaphysics with science and social action.
This is a fascinating TED Talk given by Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer who specializes in arctic life. The photography is absolutely incredible and his stories match. An inspiring and beautiful presentation…
Tales of ice-bound wonderlands
Paul Nicklen | TED | May 2011
____________________________________________________________________________ Paul Nicklen grew up one of only a few non-Inuit in an Inuit settlement on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada — a childhood that taught him the patience, stamina and respect for nature required for his beat in the frigid climes of Earth’s polar regions. Best known for his vivid and intimate wildlife photos for National Geographic, Nicklen started out a biologist in the Northwest Territories, gathering data on such species as lynx, grizzlies, and polar bears. Today he bridges the gap between scientific research and the public, showing how fragile and fast-changing habitats are profoundly affecting wildlife.
This display shows the comparison between the Palestinian land in 1967 and today. The gray areas on the right are occupied by Israel, many of them separated from their Palestinian neighbors by 20-foot concrete walls stretching for miles. This is the area that Netanyahu describes as “indefensible.” What is truly indefensible is Israel’s treatment of their own Arab citizens and their Palestinian neighbors…
This week erstwhile Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had what might charitably be considered a bad-hair week. Undaunted, Newt struck back at his critics with a singular press release interpreted on the Colbert Report by the inimitable actor, John Lithgow. It’s an oscar performance…
John Lithgow Performs Gingrich
Note: If the video does not appear in the frame below, tap on This Link to the Colbert site where you can watch it.
A few years ago we decided to separate ourselves from the suburban American lifestyle and live on a sailboat. When you do that you encounter a totally new world with about 1/20th the living space you used to enjoy. Naturally, this leads to a lot of tag sales. It also redirects your sense of space and function. We quickly learned that a few square feet (or meters in this case) is actually sufficient to live quite comfortably… provided you are willing to let go of the notion that you live in Texas and absolutely can’t exist without 2400 sq ft in every room of your McMansion, each dedicated to a different level of gratification. I’m not suggesting everyone should live like us or like the fellow in this video but it certainly suggests that our notions about living space, much like our notions about transportation, could benefit from reevaluation…
One reason architecture is unique among the arts is because architects are often invited to explain why their work is significant or brilliant. I really can’t think of another medium, with the exception of acting, where this is so. Nevertheless I am always enthralled to listen to a brilliant architect talk about his/her creations. In this TED Talk the British architect Thomas Heatherwick talks about his firm’s work. What sets it apart from others is the willingness to push the envelope, not just to be provocative but more to open themselves to the possibility of creating something new where nothing previously existed. That is creativity in its purest form and it’s always a joy to behold…
Building the Seed Cathedral
Thomas Heatherwick | TED | Mar 11
_______________________________________________________________________________ Thomas Heatherwick founded Heatherwick Studio in 1994 with his aim being “to bring architecture, design and sculpture together within a single practice.” On the team, architects, landscape architects, designers and engineers work from a combined studio and workshop, where concept development, detailing, prototyping and small-scale fabrication take place. The studio’s work spans commercial and residential building projects, masterplanning and infrastructure schemes as well as high profile works of public art.
The bet was audacious from the beginning, and given the miserable, low-down tenor of contemporary politics, not unfathomable: Could you divide the country between greedy geezers and everyone else as a way to radically alter the social contract?
But in order for the Republican plan to turn Medicare, one of most popular government programs in history, into a much-diminished voucher system, the greed card had to work.
The plan’s architect, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, drew a line in the actuarial sand: Anyone born before 1957 would not be affected. They could enjoy the single-payer, socialized medical care program that has allowed millions of people to live extended lives of dignity and decent health care.
And their kids and grandkids? Sorry, they would have to take their little voucher and pay some private insurer nearly twice as much as a senior pays for basic government coverage today. In essence, Republicans would break up the population between an I’ve Got Mine segment and The Left Behinds.
Again, not a bad political calculation. Altruism is a squishy notion, hard to sustain in an election. Ryan himself has made a naked play for greed in defending the plan. “Seniors, as soon as they realize this doesn’t affect them, they are not so opposed,” he has said.
Well, the early verdict is in, and it looks as though the better angels have prevailed: seniors are opposed. Republicans: Meet the Fockers. Already, there is considerable anxiety — and some guilt — among older folks about leaving their children worse off financially than they are. To burden them with a much costlier, privatized elderly health insurance program is a lead weight for the golden years.
This plan is toast. Newt Gingrich is in deep trouble with the Republican base for stating the obvious on Sunday, when he called the signature Medicare proposal of his party “right-wing social engineering.” But that’s exactly what it is: a blueprint for downward mobility.
Look at the special Congressional election of next Tuesday. What was supposed to be a shoo-in for Republicans in a very safe district of upstate New York is now a tossup. For that, you can blame the Medicare radicals now running the House.
And a raft of recent polls show that seniors, who voted overwhelmingly Republican in the 2010 elections, are retreating in droves. Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin says the Ryan plan is a “watershed event,” putting older voters in play for next year’s presidential election.
Beyond the political calculations, all of this is encouraging news because it shows that people are starting to think much harder about what kind of country they want to live in. Give the Republicans credit for honesty and showing their true colors. And their plan is at least a starting point compared with those Tea Party political illiterates who waved signs urging government to keep its hands off their government health care.
When the House of Representatives voted to end Medicare as we know it last month, it was sold as a way to save the program. Medicare now covers 47.5 million Americans, but it won’t have sufficient funds to pay full benefits by 2024, according to the most recent trustee report. Something has to be done.
Many Republicans want to kill it. They hate Medicare because it represents everything they are philosophically opposed to: a government-run program that works and is popular across the political board. It’s tough to shout about the dangers of universal health care when the two greatest protectors (if not creators) of the elderly middle class are those pillars of 20th-century progressive change, Social Security and Medicare.
For next year’s election, all but a handful of Republicans in the House are stuck with the Scarlet Letter of the Ryan Plan on their record. Soon, there will be a similar vote in the Senate. It will not pass, but it will show which side of the argument politicians are on.
There is a very simple way to make Medicare whole through the end of this century, far less complicated, and more of a bargain in the long run than the bizarre Ryan plan. Raise taxes. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but most American pay less taxes now than anytime in the last 50 years, according to a number of measurements. And a majority of the public now seems willing to pay a little extra (or force somebody else to pay a little extra) to keep a good thing going. Both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush raised taxes, by the way.
Given a choice between self-interest and the greater good, voters will usually watch out for themselves — unless that greater good is their own family. For Republicans intent on killing Medicare, it was a monumental miscalculation to miss that logical leap.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Timothy Egan worked for The Times for 18 years – as Pacific Northwest correspondent and a national enterprise reporter. His column on American politics and life as seen from the West Coast appears here on Fridays. In 2001, he was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that wrote the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” He is the author of several books, including “The Worst Hard Time,” a history of the Dust Bowl, for which he won the National Book Award, and most recently, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America.”