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14 Surprising Things About Parenting in Sweden | A Cup of Jo
"On the Law of Jante: There’s an interesting cultural principal here and in a few other Scandinavian countries called the Law of Jante. It essentially means that one individual is not more special than any other, and you’re not to behave as if you are. When I was teaching ballet in Stockholm years ago, I noticed that my students were, indeed, reluctant to stand out. For example, they were quite timid when I asked them to demonstrate steps or propose new ideas to the class."



"On food: One of the funniest food customs I’ve observed here is the national tradition of having split pea soup and pancakes for lunch on Thursdays. The first time a Swede told me that, I thought he was joking, but the opera house where I work serves that meal every Thursday. I think all Swedish schools do it, too, and you’ll see it in restaurants. When Americans think of split pea soup it’s green, but here it’s more yellow, with white and yellow beans, and the meat is a pork sausage that’s sliced into the soup."



"On candy: Swedes eat more candy than anybody else in the world, something like 35 pounds of candy per person per year! Huge candy shops with impressive sections are everywhere. What intrigues me most about the Swedish sweet tooth is lördagsgodis or “Saturday candy.” Every Saturday, kids and often their parents fill bags with their favorite candy. Gummies and licorice are big favorites. Before I became a parent, I thought this was a great idea, but now I’ve seen what sugar does to my daughter!



On coziness: The Swedish word mysig is hard to translate, but technically means “to smile with comfort,” or be cozy. It’s an important concept here, where the winters are long and cold. You see candles everywhere, year round. When I first moved here, it struck me as a major fire hazard! But they’re everywhere and so beautiful. Sometimes we go to IKEA on weekends (“It’s cold and rainy, so let’s go to IKEA!”), and everyone buys their candles there! Everyone has candles in their carts at checkout.

Swedes even have a special word to describe curling up indoors on a Friday night: fredagsmys. You light candles, cuddle under a blanket on the sofa, eat candy and watch a movie. I love that there’s a verb for it."
sweden  coziness  parenting  families  children  astridlindgren  candy  food  pippilongstocking  alfonsaberg  alfieatkins  mysig  napping  fredagsmys  play  cold  climate  outdoors  motherhood  childcare  daycare  parentalleave  lawofjante  collectivism  community  summer  winter  scandinavia  via:jenlowe 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: Joyas Volardores - Brian Doyle
"Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas volardores, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmet-crests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles—anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day, and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest animal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children."
2012  briandoyle  via:jenlowe  animals  nature  birds  hummingbirds  numbers  time  repetition  metabolism  biology  hearts  whales  bluewhales  mammals  anatomy  lifetimes  scale  size  life  speed  velocity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
10 Reasons to Love Uruguay’s President José Mujica | Alternet
"1. He lives simply and rejects the perks of the presidency. Mujica has refused to live at the Presidential Palace or use a motorcade. He lives in a one-bedroom house on his wife’s farm and drives a 1987 Volkswagen. “There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress,” said Mujica, referring to his time in prison. He donates over 90% of his $12,000/month salary to charity so he makes the same as the average citizen in Uruguay. When called “the poorest president in the world,” Mujica says he is not poor. “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live.”

2. He supported the nation’s groundbreaking legalization of marijuana. “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different,” Mujica said. So this year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to regulate the legal production, sale and consumption of marijuana. The law allows individuals to grow a certain amount each year and the government controls the price of marijuana sold at pharmacies. The law requires consumers, sellers, and distributors to be licensed by the government. Uruguay’s experience aims to take the market away from the ruthless drug traffickers and treat drug addiction as a public health issue and will have reverberations worldwide.

3. In August 2013, Mujica signed the bill making Uruguay the second nation in Latin America (after Argentina) to legalize gay marriage. He said legalizing gay marriage is simply recognizing reality. “Not to legalize it would be unnecessary torture for some people,” he said. In recent years, Uruguay has also moved to allow adoption by gay couples and openly gay people to serve in the armed forces.

4. He’s not afraid to confront corporate abuses, as evidenced by the epic struggle his government is waging against the American tobacco giant Philip Morris. A former smoker, Mujica says tobacco is a killer that needs to be brought under control. But Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for $25 million at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes because of the country’s tough smoking laws that prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and require warning labels, including graphic images of the health effects. Uruguay is the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to implement a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Philip Morris has huge global business interests (and a well-paid army of lawyers). Uruguay’s battle against the tobacco Goliath will also have global repercussions.

5. He supported the legalization of abortion in Uruguay (his predecessor had vetoed the bill). The law is very limited, compared to laws in the US and Europe. It allows abortions within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and requires women to meet with a panel of doctors and social workers on the risks and possible effects of an abortion. But this law is the most liberal abortion law in socially conservative, Catholic Latin America and is a step in the right direction for women’s reproductive rights.

6. He’s an environmentalist trying to limit needless consumption. At the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, he criticized the model of development pushed by affluent societies. “We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means – by being prudent – the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction," he said. He also recently rejected a joint energy project with Brazil that would have provided his country with cheap coal energy because of his concern for the environment.

7. He has focusing on redistributing his nation’s wealth, claiming his administration has reduced poverty from 37% to 11%. “Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce,” he told businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce. “It’s no mystery--the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make is in human resources.” His government’s redistributive policies include setting prices for essential commodities such as milk and providing free computers and education for every child.

8. He has offered to take detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo. Mujica has called the detention center at Guantanamo Bay a “disgrace” and insisted that Uruguay take responsibility to help close the facility. The proposal is unpopular in Uruguay, but Mujica, who was a political prisoner for 14 years, said he is “doing this for humanity.”

9. He is opposed to war and militarism. “The world spends $2 million a minute on military spending,” he exclaimed to the students at American University. “I used to think there were just, noble wars, but I don’t think that anymore,” said the former armed guerrilla. “Now I think the only solution is negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to ensure peace is to cultivate tolerance.”

10. He has an adorable three-legged dog, Manuela! Manuela lost a foot when Mujica accidentally ran over her with a tractor. Since then, Mujica and Manuela have been almost inseparable."
josémujica  uruguay  leadership  pacifism  militarism  guantanamo  simplicy  drugs  marijuana  gaymarriage  marriageequality  abortion  environment  climatechange  inequality  wealthredistribution  economics  war  humanism  consumption  poverty  capitalism  2014  via:jenlowe 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Diane Goes For You
"Here you can see the places that I visited as requested by people who had found an interesting location on Google Maps. Upon visiting these locations, I answered questions that people had asked about them and presented the answers here on this website."



"1. About:

"In the new empire of Google, it may seem to us that the whole world can be known without getting up from our chair, whithout turning our eyes away from the computer. Of course this is not true. Hopefully it will never become true. Even on the most detailed satellite view, the world remains strange and unknown. In order to have a closer look on this unknown world, Diane Rabreau is ready to get up from her chair and to be your explorer."
Till Roeskens, artist explorer.

2. What is Diane Goes For You:

It's a "service to individuals" and a game I purpose you to play.
If there is any place on earth you would like to know more about, if there is any spot on Google's satellite view that seems strange to you or that inspires you any question for which the answer can't be found online but only by going there for real, send me the geographic coordinates and I will try to go there one day and tell you what I saw and experienced.

3. How it started:

I started my explorations in January 2013. A first trip took me around France and Belgium, and a second one – thanks to the partnership of Rotterdam Film Festival– all around Europe.

4. Why I am doing this:

The little game of walking on Google Maps as if it was real is something I often do when I'm bored and I waste my time. There are thousands of us who play this game, because it's a great one, it's like a world conquest. There is too many things to know on Earth, and if we had to visit all of these things, we would need more than one lifetime. What is the point in visiting a place if, upon going there we feel like we know it already because the internet refers to it a thousand times? Can't an ordinary field lost in the Belgian countryside have the same emotional value as an Egyptian pyramid? Oddly, there's no information about what here looks like a section of a road in a Parisian building site. We don't know where it goes or where it comes from. It raises questions but there's no one to answer them because nobody cares. You care and I care too. This "section of road" could be of a huge interest or it could be nothing, whatever, we just want to know.
I have the time and the enthusiasm, therefore I am offering this service to individuals. Let's build together an infinite encyclopaedia made up of unknown destinations."
cartography  art  exploration  googlemaps  mapping  dianerabreau  via:jenlowe 
december 2014 by robertogreco
My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK
"My Vassar College Faculty ID affords me free smoothies, free printing paper, paid leave, and access to one of the most beautiful libraries on Earth. It guarantees that I have really good health care and more disposable income than anyone in my Mississippi family. But way more than I want to admit, I'm wondering what price we pay for these kinds of ID's, and what that price has to do with the extrajudicial disciplining and killing of young black human beings.

You have a Michigan State Faculty ID, and seven-year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in a police raid. You have a Wilberforce University Faculty ID and 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police for holding a BB gun. I have a Vassar College Faculty ID and police murdered Shereese Francis while she lay face-down on a mattress. You have a University of Missouri Student ID and Mike Brown's unarmed 18-year-old black body lay dead in the street for four and a half hours.

But.

"We are winning," my mentor, Adisa Ajamu, often tells me. "Improvisation, Transcendence, and Resilience—the DNA of the Black experience—are just synonyms for fighting preparedness for the long winter of war."

Adisa is right. But to keep winning, to keep our soul and sanity in this terror-filled coliseum, at some point we have to say fuck it. We have to say fuck them. And most importantly, we must say to people and communities that love us, "I love you. Will you please love me? I'm listening."

We say that most profoundly with our work. We say that most profoundly with our lives. The question is, can we mean what we must say with our work and our lives and continue working at institutions like Vassar College.

Listening to our people and producing rigorous, soulful work are not antithetical. My teachers: Noel Didla, Paula Madison, Brittney Cooper, Rosa Clemente, Osagyefo Sekou, Eve Dunbar, Imani Perry, Darnell Moore, Kimberle Crenshaw, Mark Anthony Neal, Mychal Denzel Smith, dream hampton, Marlon Peterson, Jamilah LeMieux, Luke Harris, Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein, and Carlos Alamo show me this everyday.

They also show me that though there's an immense price to pay in and out of so-called elite American educational institutions, the depth of this price differs based on sexuality, gender, race, access to wealth, and the status of one's dependents.

I paid the price of having sorry gatekeepers at Vassar question the validity of my book contracts, question my graduation from undergrad, question my graduation from grad school, question whether or not I was given tenure as opposed to earning it. And like you, when questioned so much, of course I outworked them, but scars accumulated in battles won sometimes hurt more than battles lost.

I gained 129 pounds. I got sick. I kept hurting someone who would have never hurt me. I rarely slept.

I kept fighting. And praying. And I got my work out. And I worked on healing. And I taught my kids. And I served my community. And I got hit again. And I swung at folks who weren't even swinging at me. And my best friend, who was also reckoning with the "Vassar" part of her Vassar Faculty ID, and I took turns lying to each other, sealing off our hearts in favor of arguments and unpaid labor. And when I earned leaves that I should have spent at home in Forest, Mississippi, with the 85 year-old woman who gave me the skills of improvisation, transcendence, and resilience, I stayed at Vassar College and guided tons of independent studies, directed flailing programs, and chaired hollow committees.

My family needed me home. My soul needed to be there. But I was afraid to be somewhere where my Vassar College Faculty ID didn't matter worth a damn. I was afraid to let the Mississippi black folks who really got me over see all my new stretch marks, afraid they'd hear the isolation and anxiety in my voice, afraid they'd find the crumpled bank receipts from money taken out at casinos. I was afraid to show my Mama, Auntie, and Grandma that I felt alone and so much sadder than the 27-year-old black boy they remember being issued a Vassar College Faculty ID 12 years ago.

Twelve years after getting my Vassar College faculty ID, I sit here and know that the nation can't structurally and emotionally assault black kids and think they're going to turn out OK.

OK.

A half an inch below my name on my bent ID is a nine digit identification number, and in the top left corner, hanging in the blue sky, is a 27-year-old black boy wearing an emerald green hoodie. An army green sweater-hat cocked slightly to the left is pulled over my eyes. A black book bag is slung across my right shoulder.

When I took the picture of that ID, I felt so healthy. I felt so worthy of good love. I didn't feel delivered but I felt proud that I could take care of my Mississippi family. I felt that every beating I'd gotten with shoes, extension cords, switches, belts, belt buckles, fists, and the guns of police officers was worth it. I knew that our mamas and grandmamas and aunties beat us to remind us that there was a massive price to pay for being black, free, and imperfect. I knew they beat us partially so that we would one day have a chance to wield ID's like mine as a weapon and a shield.

Vassar College can't structurally assault and neglect black kids and think they're going to turn out OK.

I think about time travel and regret a lot. If I could go back and tell my Mama anything, I would tell her that I love her, and I thank her, and I see her and I know that white racial supremacy, poverty, heteropatriarchy, and a lifetime as a young black woman academic with a hardheaded son are whupping her ass, but black parents can't physically and emotionally assault their black children—even in an attempt to protect them from the worst of white folks—and think they are going to turn out OK.

We are not OK. We are not OK. We have to get better at organizing, strategizing, and patiently loving us because the people who issued my Vassar College ID, like the people who issued Darren Wilson and Robert McCulloch their badges, will never ever give a fuck about the inside of our lives.

I have a Vassar College Faculty ID. I write books that some people care about. I teach my students. I take care of my Grandma. I have more access to healthy choice than most of my cousins. And I, like a lot of you, am not OK. I am not subhuman. I am not superhuman. I am not a demon. I cannot walk through bullets. I am not a special nigger. I am not a fraud. I am not OK.

But.

Unlike Mike Brown and Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Tamir Rice, I am alive. We are alive.

And.

We are so much better than the sick part of our nation that murders an unarmed black boy like a rabid dog, before prosecuting him for being a nigger. We are so much better than powerful academic institutions, special prosecutors, and the innocent practitioners of white racial supremacy in this nation who really believe that a handful of niggers with some special IDs, and a scar(r)ed black President on the wrong side of history, are proof of their—and really, our own—terrifying deliverance from American evil."
2014  kieselaymon  us  race  racism  whitesupremacy  vassar  via:jenlowe 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Earth View from Google Maps - Chrome Web Store
"Earth View displays a beautiful and unique Satellite image from Google Maps every time you open a new tab.

Click the Globe icon in the lower right corner to launch the current view in Google Maps."
chrome  extensions  googleearth  satelliteimagery  earth  via:jenlowe  canon 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Murmur – Sorting out Dyslexia | Ars Electronica Blog
"Aakash Odedra: Murmuration literally means when a flock of birds come together. They create a swarm. And the swarm changes the shape and size. What we have found in our research is, when you look at an object optically it’s transferred in your brain and the idea of the image starts to change. So this changing of reality, this capacity to be able to change objects, is what we want to also explore as well. Murmur basically is this idea of this flock, but the flow becomes very singular and then it divides again. How is it possible that one starling which is very intelligent as an individual then flies into a mass and then the dynamic of this one bird changes the mass? Basically it is this experience of dyslexia…

Lewis Major: Dyslexia was a starting point but this is from the very beginning what we’ve wanna make this about. In essence it’s the experience with dyslexia. The piece become the story of the individual finding its way through the world and learning to deal as with the way they see the world.

Aakash Odedra: Also, the common notion of dyslexia is even subconsciously challenged. Through research we found out that the speed of thinking of the brain of dyslectics becomes multiplied to 400 to 2.000 times. And then it becomes difficult to keep up. There is a pathway the individual has to find. And this piece is really about finding a pathway. Generally, in life everybody has to find a pathway to whatever the success may be. But this piece starts with the idea of dyslexia but then you find pathway to create a world or an universe which becomes relatable to everyone.

Lewis Major: Dance and technology, it’s not a completely new thing but I think the way we have come to work with Ars Electronica is perhaps a different way with approaching technology through a live performance. Because it has been such a collaborative exploration of dyslexia, the main theme of the piece. It’s not just about putting some pretty images on a dance piece. The dance is trying to say something and challenge peoples with ideas and concepts. Conceptions about dyslexia and I guess in a way in some sense dance. We are trying to use the technology to make what we say louder and make it bigger. Aakash is the only dancer and it’s a big space to fill in a lot of ways and a big bunch of ideas we are trying to explore using technology to accentuate those ideas and to extrapolate the concepts. This is the reason why we want to work with Ars Electronica Futurelab.

Aakash Odedra: If you look at technology and the computers we have, there is a system. In dance we also have a system as well. What often happens when we are using technology and dance that these systems seem to be separated. So there is technology and there is dance. But what’s important in this piece is that we want to integrate the two systems. The system of human thinking and dance, and the physicality of the body, and mechanics and the technology we have. And also to bring objects in space virtually. We live in world fully of technology and we use it all the time. Sometimes it’s also a virtual world we create which becomes sometimes one dimensional. But just to be able to enter into this world, to bring these two elements together, and to create this three dimensional universe that can be relatable to people. That is something we are trying to achieve with this project.

Lewis Major: The idea of the reality that we live in and also the idea of this surreal universe we live inside our head, this I think is a very good point: Technology can add this surreal element.

Aakash Odedra: Technology can give you an insight into the mind, not what’s happening in the mind exactly but it just allows you to create a window of imagination. Which is what we are trying to do with this piece: To allow a person also enter the world of imagination through technology."
2014  dyslexia  dance  aakashodedra  lewismajor  technology  mind  brain  via:jenlowe 
april 2014 by robertogreco
style.org > The Weight of Rain
[An older Jonathan Corum production: http://13pt.com/projects/nyt110425/ ]

"So when I’m looking at data, or working on an explanatory graphic, these are the moments I’m looking for.

Little “Aha!” moments that I can point to, and say “Look here, something happened,” and then try to explain.

Often those small moments can help lead a reader into the graphic, or help to explain the whole."



"I think many of the infographics we see are really just counting: 190 beers, 190 cups of coffee.

If the only thing you’re doing is coming up with a single number, then you’re doing arithmetic, not visualization.

So I want to make sure that in showing planets I’m not doing some variant of this: 190 planets.

This might be an exaggeration, but it’s the kind of thing I want to avoid.

And I think that the goal of visualization is not finding elaborate ways to encode information. I try to encode as little as possible.

You could imagine taking the same planet data and coming up with any number of geometric shapes to encode it. Maybe the vertical bar is star temperature and the horizontal bars are planet orbits.

But to me this feels like imposing a design on the data, and drawing attention to the design more than the data.

I don’t want my readers to have one finger up here on the key, and another finger down here on the graphic, looking back and forth trying to understand the design. I want the design to disappear.

And I don’t want the reader to have to work hard to decode the information — that’s my job as the designer.

I also want to make sure that I’m not introducing any patterns that don’t exist in the data.

For example, this diagram has the star numbers on the left, and the planet names — the planet letters — on the right. It looks impressive, but the X-like patterns of connecting lines are meaningless. It’s just a reflection of the way the items are ordered, and doesn’t have any interesting meaning in the real world.

There are an infinite number of ways of encoding information.

But just as I wouldn’t ask my readers to learn semaphore or Morse code to read one of my graphics — both of these say “Visualized” — I also don’t want to write microlanguages for my data that readers have to translate. If I do that, I’ve lost my reader before I’ve even started.



And most importantly, I try to keep in mind that visualization is not the same thing as explanation.

If I visualize something and walk away, I’ve only done half the job.



CLOSE
I haven’t shown you many projects this morning, but they do have a theme.

The Curiosity mission is a search for evidence of past water on Mars.

And the Kepler mission is a search for Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone, where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet.

Both are examples where we — we as humans — are looking for evidence that another form of life might have responded to, or felt, or perhaps even been conscious of ...

... the weight of rain."
jonathancorum  visualization  design  data  2014  mars  change  infographics  space  planets  science  explanation  via:jenlowe 
february 2014 by robertogreco
The men who set themselves on fire - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
"Unemployment is not only the loss of a job. It is the loss of dignity. It is the loss of the present and, over time, the ability to imagine a future. It is hopelessness and shame, an open struggle everyone witnesses but pretends not to see. It is a social and political crisis we tell a man to solve, and blame him when he cannot.

When you are unemployed, your past is dismissed as unworthy. Your future is denied. Self-immolation is making yourself, in the moment, matter.

The most famous recent case of an unemployed man setting himself on fire was Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose actions are said to have spurred the Arab Spring revolutions. When Bouazizi killed himself in December 2010, the youth unemployment rate was 30 percent in Tunisia and 25 percent in Egypt, where uprisings quickly followed.

In Spain, three years later, youth unemployment is 57 percent. In Greece, it is 64 percent. The youth unemployment rate is 23.5 percent for the combined European Union and 16 percent for the United States, a statistic which does not take into account the millions whose jobs do not pay enough to take them out of poverty. The youth unemployment rates of Western nations now mirror or surpass those of the Arab world before the uprisings."

When Bouazizi self-immolated, the case was initially covered as an act of economic desperation. Only after it triggered a mass outcry was it acknowledged as a political statement, a final stand against decades of corruption and autocracy. It is pointless to ask whether the self-immolation of an unemployed man is an economic or political act: the two are inseparable.

The knowledge of their inseparability is in part what inspires these men to act. One can call it austerity or one can call it apathy, but the end result is that states are letting their citizens die - slowly and silently in poverty, or publicly in flame.

As journalist Kevin Drum observes, in every previous recession, government spending rose. In this recession, they cut benefits, food stamps, jobs. They cut and blame us when we bleed.

In authoritarian states ruled by tyrants, in democracies allegedly ruled by law, we find the same result: hard-working people let down by the systems which are supposed to support them. When the most you can ask from your society is that it will spare you, you have no society of which to speak.



Self-immolation has long been an act of protest against corrupt and tyrannical rule: Tibetans against the Chinese, Czechoslovakians against the Soviets. The difference between these acts of protest and the unemployed men on fire is that today we are not sure who is in charge.

The US government, after all, cannot even govern itself. State attempts at improving social welfare are trumped not by public will or political disagreement but by what appears to be a preplanned, funded attempt by fringe conservatives to shut the government down.

In every country with massive unemployment - which is, increasingly, every country - citizens see the loss of a functioning social contract, and the apathy with which that loss is received.

We do not know the identity of the man on fire. We do not know what prompted him to kill himself in open view in the nation's capital. We know he was a man who died. That should be enough. In every act of agony, that should be enough."
work  employment  despair  desperation  unemployment  austerity  2013  sarahkendzior  via:jenlowe  economics  society  greatrecession  self-immolation  socialcontract 
december 2013 by robertogreco
I'm an atheist so why am I a committed Quaker? – Nat Case – Aeon
"I contradict myself. I am an atheist and committed Quaker. Does it matter what I believe, when I recognise that religion is something I need?"



"If you are really going to be part of a community, just showing up for the main meal is not enough: you need to help cook and clean up. So it has been with me and the Quakers: I’m concerned with how my community works, and so I’ve served on committees (Quakerism is all about committees). There’s pastoral care to accomplish, a building to maintain, First-Day School (Quakerese for Sunday School) to organise. And there’s the matter of how we as a religious community will bring our witness into the world. Perhaps this language sounds odd coming from a non-theist, but as I hope I’ve shown, I’m not a non-theist first. I’ve been involved in prison visiting, and have been struck at the variety of religious attitudes among volunteers: some for whom the visiting is in itself ministry, and others for whom it’s simply social action towards justice (the programme grew out of visiting conscientious objectors in the Vietnam era). The point is: theological differences are not necessarily an issue when there’s work to be done."



"How can we do that? How can I do that? Submitting to something I am pretty sure doesn’t exist? How can I bow down to a fiction? I did it all the time as a child. Open the cover of the book, and I’m in that world. If I’m lucky, and the book is good enough, some of that world comes with me out into the world of atoms and weather, taxes and death. It’s a story, and sometimes stories are stronger than stuff.

Maybe part of the trick is realising that it doesn’t have to be just my little bubble of fiction. I can read a novel, or I can go gaming into the evening with friends. I can watch a ballet on a darkened stage, or I can roar along to my favourite band in the mosh pit. I hated school dances with a passion, yet I have been a morris dancer for 23 years now: I just had to find the form that was a right fit. I don’t pray aloud, or with prescribed formulas. But I can ask Whatever-There-Is a question, or ask for help from the universe, or say thank you. And now that I’m in a place with a better fit, sometimes I get answers back. And so there I am, a confirmed skeptic, praying in a congregation."



"A year and a half ago, our family began worshipping with a smaller Conservative Friends group. Conservative Friends are socially and theologically liberal but stricter in adhering to older Quaker practices. The group uses the Montessori-based Godly Play curriculum for the children: it’s all about stories. Every session begins with a quieting and a focusing. The leader tells a story from the Bible or from the Quaker story book. Then ‘wondering’ questions are asked that spur the children to reflect on what’s going on, and what they would do in the same situation.

I wish I’d had this great programme as a child. The teacher is a good storyteller who clearly loves the kids, and they love the stories and the time with their friends. To me, it’s such an improvement on school-style lessons. It says: this is a different kind of knowing and learning — this is not about facts and theories you need to learn, but about the stories we want to become part of your life.

I love facts and theories, the stuff of the world. I spend most of my life wrestling and dancing with all this amazing matter. As the Australian comic Tim Minchin says in his rant-poem ‘Storm’ (2008): ‘Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable world?’ And yes, it’s enough. We don’t need to tell lies about the real world in order to make it magical. But we do still need impossible magic for our own irrational selves. At any rate, I do.

Because I don’t feel stuff-and-logic-based explanations deep down in my toes. There are no miracle stories of flying children there, or brothers reborn into the land where the sagas come from. The language of ‘stuff is all there is’ tells me that I can — even ought to — be rational and sensible, but it doesn’t make me want to be. ‘Atheism’ tells me what I am not, and I yearn to know what I am. What I am has a spine, it’s a thing I must be true to, because otherwise it evaporates into the air, dirt and water of the hard world.

Maybe I — we — need to start small, rebuilding gods that we talk to, and who talk back. Or just one whom we can plausibly imagine, our invisible friend. Maybe part of our problem is that we don’t actually want to talk to the voice of Everything, because Everything has gotten so unfathomably huge. George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, didn’t have to think about light years, let alone billions of light years. The stars now are too far away to be our friends or speak to us in our need. Maybe we could talk to a god whom we imagined in our house. Maybe we could ask what is wanted, and hear what is needed. Maybe that god would tell us not to tramp over the earth in armies, pretending we are bigger than we are, and that dying is OK, because it’s just something that happens when your life is over. Maybe we would ask for help and comfort from unexpected places, and often enough receive it and be thankful for it.

Maybe we need to name that little god something other than God, because maybe our God has a boss who has a boss whose boss runs the universe. Maybe we name this god Ethel, or Larry, or Murgatroyd. Maybe there is no god but God... or maybe there just is no God. And maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe we just tell stories that ring true to us and say up-front that we know they are fiction. We can let people love these stories or hate them. Maybe imagining impossible things — such as flying, the land where sagas come from, God — is what is needed. Maybe we don’t need the gods to be real. Maybe all we need is to trust more leaps of the imagination."
philosophy  quakers  atheism  2013  natcase  religion  belief  literature  fiction  skepticism  stories  storytelling  listening  learning  life  magic  wonder  truth  logic  trust  imagination  community  committees  myth  myths  josephcampbell  robert  barclay  via:jenlowe  everyday  quaker 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Atlas of the Conflict
"The Atlas of the Conflict maps the processes and mechanisms behind the shaping of Israel-Palestine over the past 100 years. Over 500 maps and diagrams provide a detailed territorial analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explored through themes such as borders, settlements, land ownership, archaeological and cultural heritage sites, control of natural resources, landscaping, wars and treaties.

A lexicon, drawing on many different information sources, provides a commentary on the conflict from various perspectives. As a whole, the book offers insights not only into the specific situation of Israel-Palestine, but also into the phenomenon of spatial planning used as a political instrument."

[See also: http://www.atlasoftheconflict.com/Images.html and
http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2011/01/atlas-of-the-conflict-israelpa.php#.Udib-Bpul-Q ]
via:jenlowe  books  israel  palestine  conflict  wars  borders  border  2011  maps  mapping  cartography  atlases 
july 2013 by robertogreco
I Own a "Low-End Bicycle," and Other Things I Learned from the Dictionary of Numbers | The Hairpin
"The Dictionary of Numbers translates numbers into other numbers. The Chrome extension, once downloaded as a plug-in, takes all the numerical figures that show up in your browser and gives them context in the form of other numerical figures. Or, to use its creator’s words, it puts numbers into “human terms.”


[Available here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dictionary-of-numbers/ahhgdmkmcgahbkcbmlkpmmamemlkajaf ]
numbers  context  comparison  extensions  plugins  chrome  via:jenlowe 
june 2013 by robertogreco
An Open Challenge to Michelle Rhee and the Corporate Education Zombies | Common Dreams
"In the end, the boycott of the winter round of the MAP primarily reflected the will of students and parents, who agreed with teachers that student time was better spent learning in the classroom, and that library computers were better used for student research and writing rather than testing. Had she acknowledged this, Michelle Rhee would have had some difficult questions to answer.

If students vote unanimously to boycott a test, is it still okay to put their demands and interests first, or does putting students first mean ignoring their democratic decision making?

If the parent organization at a school votes unanimously to support the teachers in boycotting a flawed test, is it okay for the parents to guide their children, or should students disregard their parents and instead follow an astro turf organization called “Students First”?

What happens when students, parents and teachers around the nation join together in common cause and protest for a meaningful education rather than the overuse of standardized tests? Is it okay to put “students first” when they agree with their teachers about what constitutes a quality education?

Rhee's inability to ask these critical thinking questions is a demonstration of the very cognitive problems that can arise from an over reliance on standardized testing."



"Moreover, Rhee has no understanding of the history of standardized testing or its contribution to the reproduction of inequality. As University of Washington education professor Wayne Au has written, “Looking back to its origins in the Eugenics moment, standardized testing provided…ideological cover for the social, economic and education inequalities the test themselves help maintain.” The stability of testing outcomes along racial lines, from the days of Eugenics until today, demonstrates standardized testing has always been a better measure of a student’s zip code than of aptitude. Wealthier and whiter districts score better on tests. These children have books in the home, parents with time to read to them, private tutoring, access to test-prep agencies, healthy food, health insurance, and similar advantages. Standardized testing has from the very beginning been a tool to rank and sort people, not to remove the barriers needed to achieve equality."



"The destination at which Seattle’s students, parents and teachers want to arrive is not on the MAP.  Our desired destination is graduating students who demonstrate creativity, social responsibility, critical thinking, leadership, and civic courage.  Seattle’s teachers are not afraid of assessment, but many of us know that to reach those goals, we will need to venture off the well-worn and narrow path of selecting from answer choices A, B, C, or D.

Michelle Rhee, I’m afraid you are lost.  Come debate me in public, and I can help you find your way."
michellerhee  testing  standardizedtesting  democracy  education  standardication  race  eugenics  jessehagopian  2013  protest  seattle  washingtonstate  boycott  via:jenlowe 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Platform for Pedagogy
"Platform for Pedagogy is a group that publicizes and promotes public lectures, symposia and related cultural events in and around New York City. We aim to cultivate cross-disciplinary lecture attendance and open institutions to larger and more diverse publics. We work with organizations to develop and expand outreach for high-minded and serious programming.

We are inspired and enabled by New York's many academic and cultural organizations, and in turn enable New Yorkers expanded access to these sites. Since 2008, we have published a weekly email bulletin publicizing the best of the city's cultural programming and public discourse. Our focus has been the humanities and social sciences, contemporary art, architecture, literature, technology, philosophy, social justice, politics and world affairs. We have produced several events under the Platform Programs banner."
nyc  events  lectures  education  learning  via:jenlowe 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Unspeakableness
"The Unspeakableness" investigates the essence of human emotions. Through experiments of different languages, sounds, body languages, and the subtle elements of emotions, as well as comparing the untranslatable emotion expressions in different languages with English-based researches on human emotions as a stepping stone to discover mysterious qualities of the unspeakableness between human emotions and communications.

The project can be divided into several

• Investigation in Emotion Classification
• Alternative Ways of Translation"
emotions  sounds  bodylanguage  unspeakableness  communication  expression  via:jenlowe 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
"The Upper Midwest’s third-largest compendium of the outer spatters of the emotional palette. Its mission is to harpoon, bag and tag wild sorrows, then release them back into the subconscious.

Yes, each of these definitions is completely made up. Give feedback, tell me about your day, or suggest ideas for obscure sorrows:

JOHN KOENIG is a freelance graphic designer who currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His writing has been acclaimed by New York Magazine, Washington Post Express, John Green, Jason Kottke and the guys from Radiolab."
humor  language  words  sorrows  via:vruba  emotions  dictionary  johnkoenig  via:jenlowe  dictionaries 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Los Angeles Review of Books - 'I Am What I Am Attached To': On Bruno Latour’s 'Inquiry Into The Modes Of Existence'
"Our economies are founded on a strange ideal of turning someone close into a stranger, of wanting to close deals as if getting away from one another were the aim. But in fact nobody lives according to the principles of this idealized Economy, where equivalent values are precisely and coldly calculated. Our actual economic behavior is just as mixed up and intimate as any Pacific bartering system. The cold hard gaze is hard to find. Commerce is, in reality, full of heat: surprising new products, marketing tricks, testosterone and stimulant-fueled traders, fictional goods, cooked books, and outright lies.

In economics as in everything, it turns out, we are attached to each other."
via:jenlowe  brunolatour  economics  philosophy  humans  attachment  behavior  bartering  books  2012 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Searching for Sugar Man - Wikipedia
"Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish/British documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul, detailing the efforts of two fans, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to discover if the rumored death of American musician Rodriguez was true, and, if not, to discover what had become of him. The film is produced by Simon Chinn and John Battsek."
rodriguez  via:jenlowe  towatch  documentary  music  film 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Nature of Code
"Can we capture the unpredictable evolutionary and emergent properties of nature in software? Can understanding the mathematical principles behind our physical world help us to create digital worlds? This book focuses on the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems using Processing."

"Read the Entire Book Online for Free

The complete book is available as HTML with interactive Processing.js examples.

Download the book's code

All of the source files for building the book and the Processing code examples are available on github."
howto  via:jenlowe  2012  coding  edg  srg  danielsciffman  books  code  processing  programming 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Anarchist Calisthenics | Bleeding Heart Libertarians
"You know, you and especially your grandparents could have used more of a spirit of lawbreaking. One day you will be called upon to break a big law in the name of justice and rationality. Everything will depend on it. You have to be ready. How are you going to prepare for that day when it really matters? You have to stay ‘in shape’ so that when the big day comes you will be ready. What you need is ‘anarchist calisthenics.’ Every day or so break some trivial law that makes no sense, even if it’s only jaywalking. Use your own head to judge whether a law is just or reasonable. That way, you’ll keep trim; and when the big day comes, you’ll be ready."

"I think I’m going to print that on a poster and put it in my kids’ rooms."

[via: http://obliscent.tumblr.com/post/32907364062/you-know-you-and-especially-your-grandparents via http://reading.am/jenlowe ]
parenting  anarchy  deschooling  unschooling  rationality  justice  legal  jaywalking  lawbreaking  law  civildisobedience  2012  jamescscott  anarchism  philosophicalanarchism  via:jenlowe 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Predrag Minic's answer to What is the easiest way to cut a pizza into 11 equal slices? - Quora
"What is the easiest way to cut a pizza into 11 equal slices?

Predrag Minic

1. Take a wrist watch.
2. Wind it to noon and put in the center of pizza
3. Cut in the direction of watch hands
4. Wind until next overlapping of watch hands
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all pieces are sliced"
via:jenlowe  watches  mathematics  pizza  math 
october 2012 by robertogreco
La mia Cura Open Source / My Open Source Cure
"CURE, in different cultures, means different things.

There are cures for the body, for spirit, for communication.

Grab the information about my disease, if you want, and give me a CURE: create a video, an artwork, a map, a text, a poem, a game, or try to find a solution for my health problem.

Artists, designers, hackers, scientists, doctors, photographers, videomakers, musicians, writers. Anyone can give me a CURE."

Note made by Jen Lowe on Reading.am:

"*update* @moebio's reported that there is some speculation that this is fake - art, perhaps a performance? I've no idea either way, but will say the sentiment (though of course not the gravity) holds for me regardless of the reality. cc @tealtan @maxfenton"
crowdsourcing  culture  via:jen  via:jenlowe  cures  health  opensource  opensourcecure 
september 2012 by robertogreco
7 sets Venn Diagram
"Out of this seven sets Venn Diagram (who's the author?) I created my own isomorphic version (meaning that I kept the same topology) trying to balance surface areas, so each piece has a similar visual importance.

Inspired by Newton's theories on light and color spectrum I decided to use colors rather than numbers or letters to identify each basic set, though I didn't use the same colors Newton did; mine are equidistant in the hue circle.

I named the colors using this table, in each case identifying the closest and borrowing his name.

Yes, it's a Mandala, and it has two different sides (drag it to check!)"
mandalas  santiagoortiz  venndiagrams  color  visualization  via:jenlowe 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Jan Zwicky. Possibility of Poetry
"One often has the sense with a good poem that everything that *can* be said *has* been said, and perfectly...in this, it seems to me good poems do resemble the simple visual proofs..."

"Mathematics, i believe, shows us necessary truths unconstrained by time's gravity. Poetry on the other hand articulates the necessary truths of mortality."

"...the development of 'true' analogies...consists in perceiving connections that point the way to yet other connections."
2006  perception  connection  analogy  analogies  janzwicky  poetry  mathematics  math  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  via:jenlowe 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Kartograph – rethink mapping
"Kartograph is a simple and lightweight framework for building interactive map applications without Google Maps or any other mapping service. It was created with the needs of designers and data journalists in mind.

Actually, Kartograph is two libraries. One generates beautiful & compact SVG maps; the other helps you to create interactive maps that run across all major browsers."

"Kartograph.py
A powerful Python library for generating beautiful, Illustrator-friendly SVG maps.

Kartograph.js
A JavaScript library for creating interactive maps based on Kartograph.py SVG maps."
webdev  framework  kartograph  via:jenlowe  dataviz  datavisualization  visualization  datavisualisation  javascript  python  mapping  maps  webdesign 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The Qualifier (b) Big Ears
"Jazz musicians have a term for fellow musicians who are exceptional listeners. That term is Big Ears.

Big Ears is an individual who is somehow able to hear beyond the boundaries of what is being played and discover its hidden possibilities. He brings sensibilities and forges connections in a way his fellow musicians cannot. Jazz legend Duke Ellington once said, “The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether or not he knows how to listen.” Ellington looked for Big Ears."

"To be a good listener, you have to want to listen. Ask yourself what motivates you to listen? Do you listen to understand so you can become a part of what is being said, or do you listen to gain control of the conversation? 

Reread Jake’s words and let their meaning sink in. If you are someone who worries that you’ll find yourself not knowing what to say next, listen well and you’ll always know. Learn how to expand on what you hear."
music  howto  howtolisten  dukeellington  via:jenlowe  bigears  jazz  listening 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Eyeo2012 - Zach Lieberman on Vimeo
"Unexpected — Live Performance, Technology and the Risk of Something (or Everything) Going Wrong. ie, Learning to Love Chance."

"A world without heartbreak is a world without heart."

Don't miss the poem at the end about failure (full text here: https://github.com/ofZach/eyeo_2012_remarks/ ]:

"What can go wrong? …

… this is a love letter to those who are on the frontlines, and if you are not on the frontlines, an invitation to join us. What I say to students is the world is hungry for ideas. We need you. …

and so I say: go. press play. compile. turn on the power, turn off the lights, turn on the lights, open the curtain, open the doors, start the show, invite people, post the video, send the link, push the code to git, hit save, hit run, run with it. go with it. go.

what is the worst that can happen?

a world without heartbreak is a world without heart. all we need to do is keep pushing, and we'll get there."

[See also: http://thesystemis.com/ ]
risktaking  thezone  inthezone  zones  via:jenlowe  hillmancurtis  andycameron  openframeworks  electronics  heartbreak  happiness  life  human  golanlevin  versionitis  risk  love  technology  design  art  failure  eyeo  eyeo2012  2012  zachlieberman 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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