Think before you Pink

Originally posted on Hipmombrarian's Blog:

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Photo from wikipedia.

It is a feeling of hopelessness that brings us to this place. Desperate to save those who suffer. Determined to prevent those we hope never will. We are clawing and grasping to find any morsel of earth to hold onto when we feel like we’re spiraling out of control.

It is hopelessness. I know that now.

I used to think it was ignorance. Or lack of caring. I used to get angry. Every October when the grocery aisles started to display a sea of pink. “Pinkwashing” we call it now. Pink ribbons. Pink products. Pink everywhere. A tradition so old it has a name. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it used to make me so angry to watch the way we commercialize it.

Then my father has a brush with the C word. The word we don’t even want to spell because it feels too forewarning and…

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October 1960: Two Photographs

Originally posted on Vicki Winslow's Blog:

Yves Klein: October 1960

Yves Klein: October 1960

That’s the artist Yves Klein jumping off a building in the photograph above. Taken on October 19, 1960, the photograph is titled The Leap into the Void.  The first time Klein leapt, he broke an ankle. It’s my understanding that he considered that first jump—taken months before the October leap—the one that really counted. He jumped again to document the performance,and the second time there were people below holding a tarpaulin in which to catch him. He later created (or his photographers created) a photo montage that made him appear to fly.

I once tried to learn how to fake-levitate. I studied the Balducci method, which involves balancing on the toes of one foot, while the other foot, the one closest to your small, carefully positioned audience, is raised two or so inches off the floor. What the audience sees is a person who…

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Notes on The U.S. IT Crowd

Originally posted on Why, That\'s Delightful!:

News reached me a while back that there may not be a US version of The IT Crowd. Apparently, there’s been a change of management at NBC and they’ve gone off the idea. I found this out on the Internet, which is how I find out all my information on the US IT Crowd.

To be frank, I have very mixed feelings on whether or not this counts as bad news. The IT Crowd is a very British show in the sense that it comes from a tradition of surreal sitcom that doesn’t really have an equivalent in America. The only point in a mainstream U.S. network taking on a show like this would be to reinvent it from the ground up, using my story-lines and characters merely as a jumping-off point, throwing away what’s not useful and keeping everything else. Judging by the pilot I saw, this…

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Don’t Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Originally posted on Good Humored:

Apple pie and baseball are American traditions. I’d rather have a brownie than a slice of apple pie and I hate baseball. If that makes me un-American, so be it. Baseball is tedious and about as entertaining as watching the grass in the outfield grow.  I’ve been told it is more exciting when you’re at a game, but people at the games drink a lot of beer. I don’t trust them to give me accurate information.

All that standing around and just a few minutes of actual excitement.

All that standing around and just a few minutes of actual excitement.

Strike 1

When Oregano and I were dating for a few weeks, he called me unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon.

“My dad just got tickets to tonight’s Yankees game. Can you get to my house by 5:00?” he asked.

“Um,” I stalled. I wanted to spend time with Oregano, but sitting through an entire baseball game would be a mind-numbing way to…

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Social Security Benefits to Go Up by 1.7%

Originally posted on TIME:

(WASHINGTON) — The government says millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year.

It’s the third year in a row the increase will be less than 2 percent.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment affects payments for more than 70 million Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees.

The government announced the increase Wednesday, when it released the latest measure of consumer prices. By law, the increase is based on inflation, which is well below historical averages so far this year.

Congress enacted automatic increases for Social Security beneficiaries in 1975. Until recently, the increases were rarely less than 2 percent.

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Carve anything out of metal or wood with Carvey

Originally posted on Gigaom:

The home creating space is increasingly moving from the garage to the desktop, and the latest evidence is Carvey, a CNC machine the size of a microwave that can carve pretty much anything you want out of wood, metal and other materials.

It’s a bit like 3D printing, where you start out with a design file on your computer. But instead of building an object from the bottom up, Carvey carves it out of a solid block of material.

An address plate made on a Carvey. Photo courtesy of Carvey.

An address plate made on a Carvey. Photo courtesy of Carvey.

The results are gorgeous–crisp metal numbers and wooden boxes, plus enough detail to make jewelry and other small items. It isn’t a tool for everyone, but artists and small business owners currently renting time on laser cutters and industrial-scale CNC machines might see the appeal.

Carvey is not the first desktop CNC, and it will not be the last. But it looks…

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Watch Italy’s Famous Singing Nun Cover ‘Like a Virgin’

Originally posted on TIME:

Italy’s famous singing nun is out with her debut single: a cover of Madonna’s hit 1984 song “Like a Virgin.”

But don’t expect Sister Cristina Scuccia, an Ursuline nun who won this year’s The Voice of Italy, to sing that she was “touched for the very first time” over the song’s original uptempo dance track. Instead, Sister Cristina, who isn’t afraid to let loose on stage despite what her occupation implies, has transformed the song into an emotional ballad, whose music video features her singing in front of various religious Italian monuments.

“Reading the text, without being influenced by previous interpretations, you discover that it is a song about the power of love to renew people [and] rescue them from their past,” Sister Cristina told Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Sister Cristina skyrocketed to fame when she belted Alicia Keys’ “No One” for her Voice of Italy audition. Her eponymous…

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Birds, Gastronomy, Cultural Heritage–Is It Entrepreneurial Conservation?

Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

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Michel Guérard, left, the chef of Les Prés d’Eugénie, and Jean Coussau, the chef of Relais de la Poste, are among a handful of chefs trying to bring the ortolan back to the restaurant menu in France. Credit Ulrich Lebeuf/M.Y.O.P for The New York Times

We do not link often to the countless stories of rhino populations being decimated due to poaching, not because they are depressing, which they are; but because there have been no breakthrough entrepreneurial conservation stories related to that tragedy. Ditto for elephants and other charismatic megafauna–overwhelmingly depressing and no solution in sight, with the rare glimmer of hope.

So, when we see an article like the one below, even though it focuses on charismatic minifauna rather than megafauna, we take note. We pay a disproportionate amount of attention to birds for reasons that should be clear to regular readers of these pages, so for now…

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