Thu, 13 Dec 2007 03:30:03 GMT
Audrey Hepburn: Staring Me Down
Here''s a tip for people who just can''t seem to make themselves pull together cute outfits as often as they''d like: Hang a huge poster of someone glamorous on your wall. One of my Hanukkah presents from my family was the above poster of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany''s, and it has had the unexpected effect of causing me to want to wear fabulous clothing. I just can''t pull on sweats while Holly GoLightly is staring at me from the wall and sparkling with diamonds.
Needless to say, I love the poster. Everyone needs that extra push to dress well when it''s freezing outside and you''re exhausted.
Hmm, that reminds me. I''ve been meaning to watch Funny Face for a while now. Maybe I''ll rent it this weekend....
Posted by: Kori Read more Source
Tue, 11 Dec 2007 02:59:04 GMT
Business worried about climate change
How things have changed.
Executives expect environmental issues, including climate change, to affect shareholder value far more than any other societal issue during the next five years. Their concern now exceeds that of consumers, according to a new McKinsey study. More than half nominated climate change, compared with 31 per cent in the previous survey.
It coincides with reports of corporations asking politicians to agree on a comprehensive, legally binding framework to tackle climate change during the ongoing international conference in Bali.
The change in business attitudes is not surprising. Climate change has dominated political and legal debates over the last year, carbon is set to become one of the world's biggest commodity markets, businesses around the world are coming under increasing regulation controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and there is the prospect of rising seas, storms and droughts hurting the bottom line. It's something I have covered here.
Now there is the warning by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that the number of people threatened by coastal flooding could more than triple by 2070 due to climate change and the financial impact of flooding could increase by tens of trillions of dollars. Miami is the only city in a developed country on the report's list of the 10 top cities at risk due to population exposure but it leads the list of cities with the highest value of property and infrastructure assets at risk.
Scientists are warning that the US heartland faces hotter and wetter summers with climate change generating wildfires in the west, floods and Katrina-style storm surges on the Gulf coast and extreme storms in the mid-west. Environment America has just released a report on its web site indicating that storms with heavy rainfall are now 24 per cent more frequent in the U.S. than they were 60 years ago
Still, businesses in certain sectors will have to do a lot more to address climate change. The mining, energy and aviation sectors, for example, will have to look to greater innovation to compete with potentially higher operating costs.
Posted by: leon Read more Source
Tue, 04 Dec 2007 01:39:48 GMT
Senses of Cinema
"Try writing an essay on ''leaving the movie theatre'' in this day and age." Introducing their new issue, Senses of Cinema editors Rolando Caputo and Scott Murray pick up on the tone set by Chacun son cinema (To Each His Own Cinema), the compilation of three-minute films by 33 renowned directors commissioned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cannes this year: to enter a movie theater now is to pay a 21st century tribute, suffused with respect and nostalgia, maybe even mourning, to a fading 20th century custom as the films themselves slip out onto smaller, more portable screens or harrumph and go all 3D and loud. Nicholas de Villiers reviews the shorts themselves: "It is apparent that many share a strong ''cathexis'' to the actual movie hall itself: the red auditorium chairs, the dust-motes in the cone of light from the projector, the architecture of old theatres."
Posted by: dwhudson Read more Source
Tue, 04 Dec 2007 01:01:22 GMT
Why It's All About the Day-to-Day
It''s one of the great paradoxes of life that we all want to be happy, yet so few of us seem to know exactly where happiness comes from. Happiness itself can be defined in many different ways, it may have all kinds of components, it may be a life''s work, or even no work at all, but we are, most of us, in pursuit of this elusive goal.
Psychologists have good and bad news about our search for happiness. The bad news is that we have essentially no control over 50% of our happiness levels. Happiness, like many of our other attributes is partially set by our genes. While these do interact to a certain extent with the environment, on a day-to-day basis this 50% can be considered immovable.
What about the other 50%? This is the start of the good news (almost).
First there are the overall circumstances of our lives, our ''demographics''. This includes things like how much money we have, our education level, whether we live in rich or poor countries, how old we are, whether we are married or not and whether we are religious.
All of these factors have some relationship to happiness. For example, higher levels of education are associated with more happiness, as is higher age and even being married (I know, I know!).
These are all factors which, generally speaking, are difficult to change. Granted, it is easier to get married than it is to become younger, but they are both still relatively long-term circumstantial factors.
While circumstantial factors do matter, the surprise is how small a contribution they make to our happiness. Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2007) estimate it at only 10%. This is completely dwarfed by the genetic contribution to happiness.
So if we can''t change our genes and we can''t, broadly speaking, change our life circumstances, what on earth can we change?
The only thing that is left is what we actually do every day. What Sheldon and Lyubomirsky refer to as ''intentional activity''. They see the activities we take part in as moving our happiness levels within the set range determined by our genetics and our life circumstances.
But which activities to choose, and how should we carry out these activities? Answering this question is all about understanding how quickly humans adapt to new and exciting experiences.
The first time we try something stimulating that we find enjoyable, it is likely to increase our happiness levels considerably. Whether it''s that first parachute jump, the first kiss with our partner or just a new and exciting book we''re reading. New experiences tickle our pleasure centres and we feel good.
Unfortunately when presented with that very same stimulus again and again we soon become used to it. This is what psychologists have called ''hedonic adaptation''. The amount of pleasure we can get from the same experience tails off with repeated exposure. The first chocolate tastes a damn sight better than the last.
Posted by: Jerry Read more Source
Tue, 20 Nov 2007 00:54:39 GMT
I for India
"I for India isn''t content just to mold years of personal footage into a fascinating drama, as we''ve already seen in such camcorder-obsessed tales of domestic dysfunction as Capturing the Friedmans and Tarnation," writes Aaron Hillis in the Voice. "[T]he film manages to lyrically explore the meaning of filial responsibility with a lasting but unsentimental tenderness. November seems late enough to call this one of the richest documentaries of the year."
"When Dr Yash Pal Suri, the filmmaker''s father, left India for England in 1965, he remained in touch with his parents and siblings by using matching sets of Super 8-millimeter cameras and audiotape recorders," explains Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times. "The resulting missives, lovingly shaped by the filmmaker into four decades of familial intimacy, form the core of a movie that''s both deeply personal and surprisingly universal."
Updated through 11/15.
Posted by: dwhudson Read more Source
Wed, 07 Nov 2007 04:04:38 GMT
What would you improve?
Mark Hoofnagle at Denialism has a neat article on what would you improve if you could redesign the human body. I''m fine with an appendix, I''m not female so I don''t really care about childbirth, and I''m still fairly young so I am not really concerned with my prostate. However, I would like to upgrade my senses. I''d like eyes like a hawk, ears like an owl, touch like a star-nosed mole, and a nose like bloodhound.
Birds have acute vision, but also can see ultraviolet light. Their world must be especially colorful. How cool is that?
Besides having rather keen hearing, Owls have asymmetrical ear openings permitting it to precisely locate things even in the absence of visual cues. My hearing isn''t so great so this would be nice for me.
Star-nosed moles have rather exquisite senses of touch since they are functionally blind.
Bloodhounds have exceptionally sensitive noses. Imagine being able to figure out where your partner is in the grocery store by following their scent? I guess the drawback is that garbage will smell pretty bad....
Presumably it is possible for humans to evolve all these traits given enough time and the proper selective forces. In fact, it is likely that many of our senses have degenerated via relaxed selection over the millennia.
I''d also like to be able to jump higher than four inches, but let''s leave that for another time....
Drawing from WikiCommons.
Posted by: Dennehy Read more Source
Wed, 07 Nov 2007 03:46:39 GMT
UFO Hotspots Map
Alien encounters, abductions and sightings are very much out of the picture since they were milked for televisual success by the popular series The X-Files in the 1990s.
That doesn''t prevent the brave J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies from Chicago from publishing a map of UFO sightings in the US. It indicates the number of UFO reports per 100.000 people by county in the continental US.
Posted by: Gerard Read more Source
Fri, 02 Nov 2007 00:57:05 GMT
When Your Own Mind is a Mystery
This top 10 social psychology study not only demonstrates the ''halo effect'' but also how little access we have to our own thought processes.
The ''halo effect'' is a classic finding in social psychology. It is the idea that global evaluations about a person (e.g. she is likeable) bleed over into judgements about their specific traits (e.g. she is intelligent). Hollywood stars demonstrate the halo effect perfectly. Because they are often attractive and likeable we naturally assume they are also intelligent, friendly, display good judgement and so on. That is, until we come across (sometimes plentiful) evidence to the contrary.
In the same way politicians use the ''halo effect'' to their advantage by trying to appear warm and friendly, while saying little of any substance. People tend to believe their policies are good, because the person appears good. It''s that simple.
But you would think we could pick up these sorts of mistaken judgements by simply introspecting and, in a manner of speaking, retrace our thought processes back to the original mistake. In the 1970s, well-known social psychologist Richard Nisbett set out to demonstrate how little access we actually have to our thought processes in general and to the halo effect in particular.
Likeability of lecturers
Nisbett and Wilson wanted to examine the way student participants made judgements about a lecturer (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977). Students were told the research was investigating teacher evaluations. Specifically, they were told, the experimenters were interested in whether judgements varied depending on the amount of exposure students had to a particular lecturer. This was a total lie.
In fact the students had been divided into two groups who were going to watch two different videos of the same lecturer, who happened to have a strong Belgian accent (this is relevant!). One group watched the lecturer answer a series of questions in an extremely warm and friendly manner. The second group saw exactly the same person answer exactly the questions in a cold and distant manner. Experimenters made sure it was obvious which of the lecturers alter-egos was more likeable. In one he appeared to like teaching and students and in the other he came across as a much more authoritarian figure who didn''t like teach at all.
After each group of students watched the videos they were asked to rate the lecturer on physical appearance, mannerisms and even his accent (mannerisms were kept the same across both videos). Consistent with the halo effect, students who saw the ''warm'' incarnation of the lecturer rated him more attractive, his mannerisms more likeable and even is accent as more appealing. This was unsurprising as it backed up previous work on the halo effect.
The surprise is that students had no clue whatsoever why they gave one lecturer higher ratings, even after they were given every chance. After the study it was suggested to them that how much they liked the lecturer might have affected their evaluations. Despite this, most said that how much they liked the lecturer from what he said had not affected their evaluation of his individual characteristics at all.
For those who had seen the badass lecturer the results were even worse - students got it the wrong way around. Some thought their ratings of his individual characteristics had actually affected their global evaluation of his likeability.
Even after this, the experimenters were not satisfied. They interviewed students again to ask them whether it was possible their global evaluation of the lecturer had affected their ratings of the lecturer''s attributes. Still, the students told them it hadn''t. They were convinced they had made their judgement about the lecturer''s physical appearance, mannerisms and accent without considering how likeable he was.
Common uses of the halo effect
The halo effect in itself is fascinating and now well-known in the business world. According to ''Reputation Marketing'' by John Marconi, books that have ''Harvard Classics'' written on the front can demand twice the price of the exact same book without the Harvard endorsement. The same is true in the fashion industry. The addition of a well-known fashion designer''s name to a simple pair of jeans can inflate their price tremendously.
But what this experiment demonstrates is that although we can understand the halo effect intellectually, we often have no idea when it is actually happening. This is what makes it such a useful effect for marketers and politicians. We quite naturally make the kinds of adjustments demonstrated in this experiment without even realising it. And then, even when it''s pointed out to us, we may well still deny it.
So, the next time you vote for a politician, consider buying a pair of designer jeans or decide whether you like someone, ask yourself whether the halo effect is operating. Are you really evaluating the traits of the person or product you thought you were? Alternatively is some global aspect bleeding over into your specific judgement? This simple check could save you voting for the wrong person, wasting your money or rejecting someone who would be a loyal friend.
Posted by: Jerry Read more Source
Sat, 27 Oct 2007 21:32:07 GMT
Rails and Ties
"It's probably not the easiest thing in the world to direct your first feature film when your dad is an icon like Clint Eastwood, but with her feature debut, Rails & Ties, helmer Alison Eastwood makes some smart decisions, most of which involve surrounding herself with people who know what they're doing," writes Kim Voynar at Cinematical, where she talks with Eastwood and Marcia Gay Harden.
"Ms Eastwood's smartest move was to tap Kevin Bacon for one of her leads," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "As Tom Stark, an emotionally tamped-down railroad engineer with a dying wife, Mr Bacon gives the film gravity and energy. Unlike Marcia Gay Harden, an appealing actress who takes on the role of the terminally ill wife, Megan, with rather too much enthusiasm, Mr Bacon plays it as cool as he can."
Posted by: dwhudson Read more Source
Tue, 23 Oct 2007 02:09:35 GMT
Art of Shaving For Women
The Art of Shaving is a well-known, highly respected, extremely upscale grooming line for men. They finally came out with a women's line that is similar to yet distinctly different from the men's line because women's shaving needs are different from men's and they aren't shaving their face!
The philosophy and product line for women is very specific and they are very careful and precise about what the products they are presenting. The Art of Shaving for Women is infused with precious ROSE ABSOLUTE, distinctively selected for its soothing and hydrating benefits and its delicate, feminine aroma. Carefully distilled from freshly picked damask roses of Bulgaria, pure Rose Absolute is so exquisite and rare, it takes 20,000 rose petals to extract just one pound of its natural essence.
To achieve The Perfect Shave, The Art of Shaving introduces women to the Shaving Brush, which uniquely absorbs water and delivers a rich, warm and protective lather to the skin. To complete the experience, the brand has created beautifully handcrafted shaving razors that are carefully designed to offer proper weight, balance and grip to ensure the best results.
Read more of "Art of Shaving For Women Makes Shaving a Luxe Experience!"
Posted by: Stevie Wilson Read more Source
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