Thursday, July 31, 2008

Urban Design: Bonding Humanity and Landscape in a Perfect Circle

[Below]John Lautner’s Mar Brisas House (1973), in Acapulco, Mexico, has a pool that echoes the shape of the beach below it, as if they were created by the same hand
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LOS ANGELES — For those who find consolation in visionary architecture, this city has always been a powerful antidepressant. Its wealth of 20th-century treasures, mostly private homes, reminds us that it is possible to find quiet corners of enlightenment in dystopian times.

John Lautner’s Celebrated Homes

Viewed one after another, the drawings are a powerful expression of a creative mind at work, and of Lautner’s struggle to strike a balance between individual and community, privacy and companionship.

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Dutch Analysts see oil rationing as imminent (so do I)

...demand rationing will be required in the OECD countries and particularly in the US, in order to accommodate growth in the newly developing countries, notably China and India. Different fuel prices for end-consumers in the different countries will be the dominant factor behind this ‘oil redistribution’.

An important Dutch energy institute, the Clingendael International Energy Program (CIEP), recently published a report that confirms most of the conclusions about the oil market reached over the years at the oildrum. That the floor price of oil is now 110 dollars per barrel, that supply will not rise beyond 100-105 million b/d in the coming decades, that there will be an oil supply constraint for most of the next decade, that there are insufficient quantities of alternative fuels available and that thus demand destruction is inevitable. CIEP is especially important because it is endorsed by amongst others BP, Shell Netherlands, Total E&P Netherlands, three Dutch Ministries, Wintershall, Vopak Oil Europe Middle East and several Dutch energy companies. The report in english can be downloaded here (PDF 2.8 megabytes, 108 pages).

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2 Van Gogh's for the price of 1

Van Gogh was such a passionate painter, and so desperately poor for materials, he painted some paintings over others.
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) -
Scientists have made a colored
view of an early rejected painting underneath Vincent van
Gogh's 'Patch of Grass' painting, using advanced X-ray
techniques, a Dutch university said on Wednesday.

The very detailed image shows the face of a woman and may
give art historians a better understanding of the way Van Gogh
developed as a painter.

"It is estimated that one third of Vincent van Gogh's early
paintings have been painted on top of existing ones. Van Gogh
literally recycled his own canvasses," scientist Joris Dik of
the Delft University of Technology said.

Undated handout picture shows a painting underneath Van Gogh's famous work 'Patch of grass' in Hamburg. Scientists have made a coloured view of an early rejected painting underneath Vincent van Gogh's 'Patch of Grass' painting, using advanced X-ray techniques, a Dutch university said on Wednesday. (DESY/Reuters)
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10 Habits that Bosses Love

Every boss wants employees who do their jobs well. But even among highly competent employees, there are distinctions. Here are 10 tips for making sure you're on the boss's A-list:
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1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Especially at
the beginning of your relationship -- that is, when either you or the boss is
new to the job -- err on the side of giving your boss too much information and
asking too many questions.

2. Acknowledge what the boss says. Bosses appreciate
"responsive listening," says John Farner, principal of Russell
Employee Management Consulting. When your boss asks you to do something or suggests
ways for you to improve your work, let her know you heard.

3. Collaborate. When your boss has a new idea, respond to
it in a constructive way instead of throwing up roadblocks.

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Oil Jumps $4, but maybe if we hold thumbs it will go down again...

China is eating up the slack from the US.

The Long Emergency is about a succession of crisis, each one worse than the last, with people hoping for a reprieve only to find the next economic phase worse than the former. We continue on this path of wishful thinking at our own peril. The oil price is trending PERMANENTLY upward which means our lifestyle/habit changes need to be permanent also. Anyone think that's gonna happen?
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U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels last week,
according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,
countering analyst calls for a 200,000 barrel build.

Strong growth from emerging economies like China has
stretched poor supply growth over the past six years, launching
a rally that sent crude up sevenfold at its peak.

Further support has come from investors buying commodities
as a hedge against inflation and the weak dollar, tensions
between Iran and the West and supply disruptions.

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South Africans hoping fate smiles this time round at Edgbaston

This article is illuminating not least in that it shows how small things - potentially - have life changing impacts further down the road for not one, but many people.
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Cricket is a game that is hugely influenced by people's mindsets, whether through rational causes or rank superstition.

From the viewpoint of many South Africans, the ground is the scene of the most painful reverse they can recall, when Lance Klusener and Allan Donald somehow contrived to eliminate South Africa from the World Cup in that painful climax to their World Cup semi-final against Australia in 1999.

Brutal It was a brutal moment, shared by captain Hansie Cronje and coach Bob Woolmer who are other names to conjure with.

Cronje's future may well have been different if South Africa had lifted the World Cup, while that match was effectively Woolmer's last hurrah as a great coach on the international scene before he died mysteriously in the West Indies last year.
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Randy Pausch dies

It was hard to believe watching the video that within 10 months he'd be dead. But he is.
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Professor Randy Pausch, the man who inspired millions with his acclaimed "Last Lecture" has died. The Carnegie Mellon University professor gained international fame when he presented a remarkable talk called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" at the US university to a packed audience as part of a series that was ironically called "The Last Lecture".

If you haven't seen it yet and have just over an hour to kill, Pausch's lecture is worth the effort and the bandwidth. Some 4,031,952 people have watched the video on Youtube.

Prof Pausch died at his home ten months after giving his last lecture on Friday July 25 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

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It's not important that South Africa win any medals, just make sure there aren't too many whites

South African row over race and sports brews ahead of Beijing Olympics.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -As athletes around the globe focus on winning gold at the Beijing Olympics, the South African sporting world is embroiled in yet another row about politics and race.

"We are not going to abandon black people who are at the rock bottom,'' Komphela said. "And I'm not ashamed to say black people in this country are on the receiving end; it is time for us to talk about transformation.''

Komphela has a reputation for being outspoken. Last year, he said the government should strip Springbok players of their passports to prevent them from going to France for the rugby World Cup after only two black players were included in the starting lineup. The team went on to win the tournament and one of its black players, winger Bryan Habana, was named player of the year.

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Island, village square in Carribean submerges under rising sea levels

Scientists standing knee deep in the water were quoted as saying: "Do you think this could have anything to do with climate change?"
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7-square-mile ice sheet breaks loose in Canada

A chunk of ice is shown drifting after it separated from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north on Sunday July 27, 2008. The sheet is the biggest piece shed by one of Canada's six ice shelves since the Ayles shelf broke loose in 2005 from the coast of Ellesmere, about 500 miles from the North Pole.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sam Soja)

EDMONTON, Alberta - A chunk of ice spreading across seven square miles has broken off a Canadian ice shelf in the Arctic, scientists said Tuesday.

"We're in a different climate now," he said. "It's not conducive to regrowing them. It's a one-way process."

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Pornographic Reporting

This idiot is saying to relax and not worry about:
- food shipped from distance shores (we should be growing more locally, and consuming more locally)
- use plastic bags freely (he reckons they don't cause much pollution to make. Maybe, but they sure do cause a lot of pollution after they've been created, whereas paper bags do breakdown and are less unsightly when blowing in the wind
- because the Arctic ice melt has broken an all time record, this twerp reckons its nothing to worry about
Sent this oke to Arkham Asylum please.
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10 things to scratch from your worry list

What I can guarantee is that I wouldn't spend a nanosecond of my vacation worrying about any of these 10 things:

1. Killer hot dogs. What is it about frankfurters? There was the nitrite scare. Then the grilling-creates-carcinogens alarm. And then, when those menaces ebbed, the weenie warriors fell back on that old reliable villain: saturated fat.

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Life can be Quirky: Bug Hunter Survives the Outback

NVDL: This is classic!
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Pest exterminator lost in Outback survives on bugs

SYDNEY, Australia - Lost in the rocky, remote Australian Outback, a former pest exterminator faced dehydration and death. Desperate for food, he turned to what he knew best — bugs, he said Wednesday.

Theo Rosmulder, 52, managed to survive for four days by feasting on termites and other insects before local Aborigines happened upon him Tuesday and brought him back to civilization.

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How Can I Tell If My Partner Is Cheating?

The most obvious are fewer requests for intimacuy, and one becomes aware of this initially through a gut feeling. Trust your gut.
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3 Signs That Your Man is Cheating Posted Mon, Jul 28, 2008, 11:30 am PDT

How do you know if you are dating a cheater? You don't need to be a private eye to suss out these warning signs:

Revived Interest in Appearance: If your partner suddenly undergoes a makeover of sorts, in which he spends much more time on his appearance, it could mean that he is trying to impress someone new. If he all of the sudden ditches his old khakis and sweats for something more stylish, it might be because he is trying to look his best for a new woman.
Missing in Action: If there are large periods in which your partner is absent and unaccounted for, it could be because there are mischievous motives behind his AWOL behavior. Whether it is a run to the corner store that takes over an hour, or whether he is constantly "working late," a missing husband could mean something sinister.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Dark Knight on IMAX is a BIG BIG DEAL

The Violence Vice

Unlike McCartney I don't believe directors are at fault for putting violence in movies. Our society is at fault for allowing itself to unravel to the extent that it has. The fact that more people want to watch these violent scenarios is merely a reflection of where movie realism is resonating with the real world. It is difficult not to believe that the world is tipping ever closer to a world war scenario, along with many other bleak possibilities, including pandemic flu, hunger shortages and worldwide social disorder (riots, etc.). While the average person might call these imaginations "doomsday," the truth is that subconsciously it is neither illogical nor farfetched given the rapid declines in world economics.

"The Dark Knight" embodies a mythos that resonates with many: that there is a growing craziness and disorder that is threatening to break loose. We all sense now that criminal elements (or terrorism) are becoming harder to contain.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

NYT: Beijing Still Belching Toxic Soup For Athletes to Inhale

BEIJING — Less than two weeks before the Olympics, Beijing’s skies are so murky and polluted that the authorities are considering emergency measures during the Games beyond the traffic restrictions and factory shutdowns that, so far, have failed to clear the air, state media reported on Monday.
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Beijing Weighs Added Pollution Plans for Olympics

For the past five days, Beijing has been a soupy cauldron of humid, gray skies. Local pollution ratings have exceeded the national standard for acceptable air since last Thursday, despite a temporary air pollution control plan that began on July 20.

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Oil Shocks - an Excellent Series (Washington Post)

I feel like my job is done communicating on oil issues when I read intelligent reporting like this. Unfortunately, most of the media still don't understand what is going on. Ssssh. It's the speculators right? Right?


This Time, It's Different

Global Pressures Have Converged to Forge a New Oil Reality

Early this month, Valero Energy in Texas got the unwelcome news that Mexico would be cutting supplies to one of the company's Gulf Coast refineries by up to 15 percent.
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BEELD: Tiener-vriende sterf saam

NVDL: If Beeld was an English newspaper, The Star would be in trouble. At least we won't have stories like these when easy motoring finally slides into oblivion. In SA 13000 die annually on our roads.
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Drie tieners is dood en vier beseer in ’n grusame ongeluk Vrydagaand by ’n kruising op die R59-hoofweg by Sasolburg.

Theo het nie toestemming gehad om met sy ouers se motor te ry nie. Die egpaar het die motor vroeĆ«r aan vriende geleen wat vir ’n ruk sonder vervoer was. Die vriende het die motor Vrydagaand teruggebring.

Theo het waarskynlik toe besluit om daarmee te ry.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

I haven't been to Namibia yet...

Must go...perhaps this spring...
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The World's Most Astonishing Landscapes

How about beaches? Maui’s nice. So is Sydney. But Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is littered with shipwrecks from the thousands of captains that got lost in its ever-present fog. Its ochre dunes climb high into the distance, interrupted only by the footprints of hardy antelopes that can survive with less than half an inch of rain a year. You may not want to suntan there, but there’s no chance of mistaking it for somewhere else.

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For one reason or another, the 2008 will be remembered

The stakes are high. It's US vs China- they are competing in sports for medals, and in the real world for reources. Who will win, and what lengths will each go to win? Meanwhile, what will terrorists achieve in this Olympics, and who would dare to bankroll them?
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In Chinese newspaper profiles this year, He was listed as 14, too young for the Beijing Games.

The Times found two online records of official registration lists of Chinese gymnasts that list He’s birthday as Jan. 1, 1994, which would make her 14. A 2007 national registry of Chinese gymnasts — now blocked in China but viewable through Google cache — shows He’s age as “1994.1.1.”

There has been considerable talk about the ages of Chinese gymnasts on Web sites devoted to the sport. And there has been frequent editing of He’s Wikipedia entry, although it could not be determined by whom. One paragraph that discusses the controversy of her age kept disappearing and reappearing on He’s entry. As of Friday, a different version of the paragraph had been restored to the page.

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Dark Knight to be biggest movie in history

I predicted after watching this flick that The Dark Knight would be historic, breaking all previous box office records. It is already halfway to eclipsing Titanic's mammoth $600 million earnings.

At our local IMAX cinema today, there was one solitary front row ticket by midday today in the 9pm show, nothing else.

Later this week I will be going to IMAX, making it my third view. And I still have a lot more to write about the movie... I believe there is a reason The Dark Knight is so popular. It is a perfect reflection of the crimes (the growing darkness) of our times. It is a welcome, in a way, to the horror of the real world.
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"Dark Knight" overshadows box office rivals again
Batman buried his rivals at the
North American box office for a second weekend on Sunday,
racing past $300 million in a record 10 days.
"The Dark Knight" now ranks as the second-biggest movie of
the year, just behind the $315 million haul of "Iron Man," and
the 23rd-biggest of all time.
The last movie to break $400 million was the 2006 "Pirates
of the Caribbean" movie, which ranks No. 6 on the all-time list
with $423 million. The 1997 epic "Titanic" leads the field with
$601 million.
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