I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
Angelo Merendino Documents His Wife's Fight with Cancer
My Wife's Fight With Breast Cancer
by Angelo Merendino
The first time I saw Jennifer I knew. I knew she was the one. I knew, just like my dad when he sang to his sisters in the winter of 1951 after meeting my mom for the first time, “I found her.”
A month later Jen got a job in Manhattan and left Cleveland. I would go to the city – to see my brother, but really wanting to see Jen. At every visit my heart would scream at my brain, “tell her!!” but I couldn’t work up the courage to tell Jen that I couldn’t live without her. My heart finally prevailed and, like a schoolboy, I told Jen “I have a crush on you.” To the relief of my pounding heart, Jen’s beautiful eyes lit up and she said “Me too!”
Six months later I packed up my belongings and flew to New York with an engagement ring burning a hole in my pocket. That night, at our favorite Italian restaurant, I got down on my knee and asked Jen to marry me. Less than a year later we were married in Central Park, surrounded by our family and friends. Later that night, we danced our first dance as husband and wife, serenaded by my dad and his accordion – ♫ “I’m in the mood for love…”♫
Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the exact moment…Jen’s voice and the numb feeling that enveloped me. That feeling has never left. I’ll also never forget how we looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands. “We are together, we’ll be ok.”
With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, “You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.” We loved each other with every bit of our souls.
Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.
Throughout our battle we were fortunate to have a strong support group but we still struggled to get people to understand our day-to-day life and the difficulties we faced. Jen was in chronic pain from the side effects of nearly 4 years of treatment and medications. At 39 Jen began to use a walker and was exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump and bruise. Hospital stays of 10-plus days were not uncommon. Frequent doctor visits led to battles with insurance companies. Fear, anxiety and worries were constant.
Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?
My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.
Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.
“Love every morsel of the people in your life.” – Jennifer Merendino
Published on Mar 30, 2013
The thing Jen loved the most about my camera was when I would hold it at arm's length and make a photo of the two of us. This video is a collection of some of these photographs. Since Jen passed passed from breast cancer, in December of 2011, I have looked at these photographs a countless amount of times. I still struggle to believe that Jen is not here with me. A few years ago I was the drummer in a band called Jonka, a group started by husband and wife duo Jon and Annika. Of all the bands I played in this was Jen's favorite, she loved Jon's quirkiness and Annika's beautiful voice. Aside from the catchy 80's pop hooks and dance beats, Jonka's lyrics make me think. The song in this video, Ever After, could easily have been written for Jen and me and it has become my anthem over the last few months.
Don't Fear the Diagnosis
"1 week before the autism walk, my little buddy got an official PDD-NOS diagnosis. We all knew it was coming, and it's what we expected, but it has still been rough. I'm trying to look on the bright side of things because of all the possibilities and services and therapies that have opened up to him because he's on the spectrum. Derek is still Derek to me and I won't love him any less regardless of what's in his medical chart. He is still the sweet snuggly goofball that wears a cape 24/7 and loves to 'thpin' in the computer chair." —Liz Rouse, the blessed mommy of an Autistic child
✉ E-mail me with any questions, donations, or kind words. Everything will go directly to Liz and Derek.
< Queenie Liao, a mother, photographer, and artist, decided to make the most of her son Wengenn's naptime by creating these fantastic dreamscapes around him as he slept. They are beautiful, intricate, and imaginative. She then photographed them, and the collected images were formed into a book called Sleepy Baby. Visit the gallery on Bored Panda for a few more images, and like her gallery, "Wengenn in Wonderland," on Facebook.
Another creative parent, Anna Eftimie, drew chalk scenes and landscapes around her baby as he slept. She called the collected photographs "Blackboard Adventures." She also maintains a website called Cute Moments Photography.
While we're on the subject of kids, mother Lee Samantha plays with her kid's food, forming scenes out of rice, fish, meat, vegetables, and sauces. It's something you have to see to believe. Like the mothers mentioned above, her food art went viral and she has a blog where she posts her daily meal time creations. The memories that these moms are creating show how much they adore their children.
> I was engrossed by BuzzFeed's article "22 Things That Belong in Every Bookworm's Dream Home," and ended up spending over an hour just staring at the photos with envy. My very favorite photo is of the book reading nook to the right, which includes a chair and ottoman, ceiling fan, shelving and storage, a day bed with comforter and pillows, and a beautiful window to gaze through between chapters. I would never leave the house if I had a nook like this. Other items I enjoyed included a staircase made of books, some very clever shelving, a headboard made of open books, and clever seating designed specifically for reading books comfortably.
This past Tuesday, the New York Times featured a New York City photographer named Flo Fox, who has been photographing her urban surroundings for decades. What makes her particularly unique is that Flo is blind in one eye, and slowly but surely losing the sight in her other eye. She is confined to a wheelchair because her Multiple Sclerosis is progressing rapidly, but she doesn't let that stop her! Watch the video and be inspired.
< I was in awe of some of the photographs featured in TwistedSifter's article "18 Striking Images from Space Show Earth's Rich Tapestry." The image to the left shows several perfect circles which are Libya's Al Jawf Oasis. I find it incredible that these perfect dark circles are springs of water, naturally occurring in the middle of a vast desert. Other impressive photos show the Mississippi delta, algae and plankton flourishing in the earth's oceans that put on a beautiful show which is visible from space, and the agricultural structure of Kansas in shades of red which is particularly striking. I don't think I'll get a chance to view the earth this way first hand, so this is the next best thing.
> Everyone knows I adore animals; therefore, I love animated pet GIFs. BuzzFeed compiled the "30 Best Cat GIF Pictures in the History of Cat GIFs," and I was in pet heaven for about 30 minutes. These loveable little cats are caught in the most hilarious situations just being awesome. Some may not consider this art, and even though I am more of a dog person, I definitely do!
Upworthy, an inspirational blog, posted this really odd project coordinated by photographer Richard Rinaldi. He is working on a series of portraits where he poses two or more random people--strangers--together in loving poses. These folks are posed hugging and touching in ways that look like they are lovers, family, or very close friends, but these strangers have never met until now. Subjects say that when posed together, lovingly touching, they begin to feel a closeness that they would only experience with actual friends and loved ones. In a world where we are connected mainly through digital means, this project brings a sense of unity to a society used to minding their own business and keeping a safe distance.
Everyone loves their grandmother's cooking, and we all have a treasured memory of our grandmother in the kitchen preparing her signature dish. Gabriele Galimberti traveled the globe to photograph grandmothers from all cultures and walks of life with their signature dish. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings of standing next to your grandmother in the kitchen, probably in her way, watching her expertly prepare a dish she had been making for decades. I'm warning you, though: don't look at this photo collection if you're hungry. Results may be disastrous!
Xerox system failures essentially gave a green light to unlimited spending on food stamp cards at Walmart on Saturday. Store managers at Walmarts in Louisiana called Walmart corporate headquarters on Saturday to report huge throngs of shoppers clearing the shelves as the result of a system outage at Xerox, the company who is contracted to process EBT (electronic benefit transfer of food stamps) transactions for the store, which granted unlimited credit to EBT recipients. It is unclear, even after the chaos died down, who will be responsible for the outrageous overspending. Xerox is arguing that they have documented policies and procedures for benefits processing during the event of a system outage. Walmart executives chose to override those policies to accept the EBT cards for the full value of all purchases. That, to me, leaves Walmart holding the bag. Walmart says the responsibility lies with Xerox, whose fault it was that the system went down in the first place. The outage was a result of a routine test gone wrong. Another bearer of responsibility should be the consumers, whose greedy motives led them to overindulge and live beyond their means for a moment. These customers represent the dictionary definition of dishonesty. Who do you think should be responsible for the overspending? Here's the full article from MSN:
Wal-Mart, Xerox blame each other for food stamps spree
Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
By Kathy Finn of Reuters
Throngs of shoppers flooded Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana on Saturday, buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
NEW ORLEANS — Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Xerox Corp blamed each other on Monday after Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
Managers of Wal-Mart stores in the small, north Louisiana towns of Springhill and Mansfield alerted police on Saturday night that throngs of shoppers had flooded into the stores and were buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
Food stamps glitch causes run at Wal-Mart 1 day ago 1:34 Views: 61k EBT cards are debit-type cards issued under the state's food stamp program and coded to show the amount of money available for individuals to spend. Food stamps are a federal government subsidy program for low-income people that is administered by the states.
When word got out Saturday that the EBT cards were showing no limits, card holders rushed to area Wal-Marts to take advantage.
"Some people had eight or 10 shopping carts full of groceries," Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said on Monday.
Xerox said on Saturday that its systems that process EBT transactions suffered an outage stemming from routine testing of backup generators that malfunctioned. Louisiana was one of 17 states affected by the outage.
Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman at Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox.
Xerox corporate spokesman Bill McKee provided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a "documented process for retailers like Wal-Mart to follow in response to EBT outages."
But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions to Wal-Mart.
Louisiana officials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag. "The outage was the result of failures by our contractor, Xerox," said Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.
He said emergency procedures in place with Xerox allow retailers to call a phone number and receive authorization for purchases any time the EBT system is down. "Some retailers chose not to follow the process," he said. "Those businesses are only being reimbursed for the (maximum) amounts on individual cards," he said.
Williams said that amounts transacted above the cards' available balances were returned to Wal-Mart marked "as insufficient funds."
He could not provide an estimate of the total amount of overspending or say who will cover it in the end. "That's a conversation between Xerox and the retailer," he said.
CARTS FULL OF GROCERIES
Springhill's Lynd arrived at his town's Wal-Mart store at about 7 p.m. local time and found a few hundred shoppers jamming checkout lines with carts filled to overflowing.
Lynd said he told the manager that the store had a right to refuse service, but the manager said she had contacted Wal-Mart headquarters and was told to accept the cards.
The shoppers "decimated the grocery section of Wal-Mart," Lynd said.
The shoppers broke no laws, Lynd said, adding that police intervention was not required to disperse the crowd. At about 9 p.m., Wal-Mart said that the glitch had been fixed and the EBT cards were again showing appropriate spending limits.
"When they heard the announcement, people just left their carts in place and walked out of the store," Lynd said.
Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs reported a similar scene in his community. He said that several other grocery stores in the area temporarily stopped accepting EBT cards when they became aware of the glitch, but Wal-Mart continued.
Related: Wal-Mart turns to 'made in USA'
I forget how I came across The Oatmeal website, but it's really cute and funny and full of illustrations about funny things. It'll definitely make you laugh, and it will keep you busy for hours. I just found this gem about Christopher Columbus being a total douche bag, owning slaves, and perpetrating a sex slave ring with pre-teen girls. Those are just a few examples of the debauchery that was Christopher Columbus.
The silver lining, you'll find, is a man called Bartolomé de las Casas. In this illustration, you'll come to know a better way of celebrating this federal holiday in honor of a better man. See the full illustration here. Happy Bartolomé de las Casas day!
This week's Sunday Art Blog has a theory: less is more. You'll find some really fun and creative things happening in the links below. I'd like to call your attention to the Aldie Counseling Center Art and Poetry Show, which is a page I just made with photos and links to poems that appeared in the art show on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. It is the first art show I was ever in that was geared toward the overcoming of addiction and mental illness. It was truly an honor to be a part of. Another amazing site is Sheen's Portfolio on Behance. You will thank me for linking to it after you've seen it. The skill is astonishing. It's pure perfection, and you will love it! Enjoy this week's Sunday Art Blog, everyone! See you next week!
As you may or may not know, I was quoted as saying that Allison Dufty was the voice of Siri, but I was mistaken, and was told so by Allison Dufty herself. Very nicely, I might add. She sounds remarkably like Susan Bennett (susanbennett.com), who just came forward as the voice of Siri. She says it took awhile to get used to hearing her own voice as Siri, but she eventually became friends with the phone voice with a programmed personality. All this according to the video from the October 8th CNN article about her. Here's a video of Susan Bennett, the real voice of Siri:
A mom was walking by the bathroom and happened to hear her 3-year-old son scolding himself for eating too much, listing everything he ate while having a bit of difficulty pooping. It is so cute and funny that I had to post it! Here it is:
A poll released by Public Policy Polling reveals a hilarious list of all the unpleasant things that people like more than the current Congress. People were directly asked: “What do you have a higher opinion of: Congress or cockroaches?” And so it went, for 25 questions.
A total of 830 people were surveyed, and said they liked a number of detested creatures and institutions more than the U.S. Congress. In the end, the Washington Times writes, “Congress is less popular than carnies, root canals and colonoscopies, but more popular than the ebola virus, meth labs and gonorrhea.”
According to Public Policy Polling, here is a list of things people now like more than Congress:
I, personally, like a lot of detestable things more than congress, but, being a gentleman, I won't say what they are. ;) Pass this along to your friends, family, and coworkers. It's all fun and games when polling like this takes place, but there is a definite impending doom if the government can't agree on a budget. Please search the net for local petitions, write to your state reps, mayors, and local officials and tell them that you want this to end. Let your voice be heard!
My latest upload to SoundCloud, "Who Can Say?" a poem by Nicholas Emeigh:
My full playlist on SoundCloud "The Poetry of Nicholas Emeigh":
From the collage image above, clockwise from top left:
Something To Take Your Mind Off Of The Government: This Crazy Website Shows You How to Find, Buy, and Sell Drugs
I don't know how it exists, but I think a stop should be put to "Silk Road Drugs," a website that tells you in detail--with the use of blogs, programs, and comments from users--how to find, buy, and sell drugs. It has features on the grades of drugs for connoisseurs, search functions, and a detailed method of installation to avoid evidence ever being tied to the pc of origin. I think it's totally cray that this exists. I'm scared to download it to tell you any more about it, so if anyone does, let me know what it's all about. I'm curious, but not enough to get arrested. This is a great article from the New York Times about the creator getting busted, so maybe it's not functioning. Let me know in the comments if you know.
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
I got a surprise e-mail from Allison Dufty this afternoon. If you remember my blog post from September 19th, I posted a video called "How Siri Found its Voice" which chronicles the journey from spoken word to synthesized speech used in technology. One of the voice artists highlighted was Allison Dufty, who sounds a lot like Siri (a LOT like Siri if you ask me), but really isn't. So it is still a mystery as to who the voice of Siri is. Maybe like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?", there are answers to questions the world may never know.
So, to Allison Dufty, I do apologize. I wish you were Siri, but even if you're not, I saw your website and you do amazing work. Siri would be lucky to have your voice. See another retraction here where they call this whole mess a "Siri-ous Mistake." Indeed it is.
This week, I've got a lot of photography for you, with some sculpture, writing, and architecture. I was really struck by the photographs of living situations in Hong Kong and China, and I'm still in awe of the long exposure photos of fireworks and ferris wheels. So cool. Enjoy!
10. You Can Wipe Your Device After Too Many Failed Password Attempts
Want to protect your data on your phone? You need a password. People can crack passwords, however, so if you want to be extra safe you need to wipe the data from your phone after they fail to enter your password correctly too many times. 10 times, in fact. Jump into Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock to find and option called Erase Data all the way at the bottom. If you enable it, your phone will wipe itself out if someone tries to access it and fails 10 times.
9. Siri Can Handle Your Calls
In addition to her (or now his, if you prefer) new voice, Siri can manage your call log for you. Need to listen to a voicemail? Just ask. Want to call back whoever just rang and you missed? Siri can handle that, too. Just make the request and she (or he) will take care of the rest.
8. You Can Change Your AirDrop Visibility
AirDrop makes it super easy to share files with other iOS 7 users in your vicinity, but perhaps you don't want everyone knowing you're ready and willing. If you want to place restrictions on who can send you files, you can just bring up Control Center and click on the AirDrop section towards the bottom left. You can decide if everyone, no one, or only contacts can see you. That way you'll only get file requests from the people you want—even if that's nobody.
7. Night Mode for Maps Avoids Blinding You While Driving Expand
Sometimes you don't want a bright white screen in your face, like when you're driving somewhere at night. Apple's Maps app automatically adjusts based on the time and provides you with a darker interface so you don't blind yourself while driving. You get this feature whether you like it or not, so there's no need to figure out how to turn it on.
6. The Compass App Includes a Spirit Level
Got a few crooked picture frames? The built-in Compass app now has a secret second page with a spirit level. Just line it up against the wall until you get a balanced zero degrees and then you'll know you're hanging things straight.
5. Messages Provides Time Stamps
Ever need to know when a specific message arrived? You can now find out by checking its timestamp in the Messages app. Just swipe on over from the right side of any conversation and you'll see when each message came in.
4. iPhones Automatically Join Trusted Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
iOS 7 makes joining free, trusted Wi-Fi hotspots much easier because you don't have to do anything at all. If you come in contact with AT&T Wi-Fi, for example, your iPhone will connect automatically and save you the hassle.
3. Mail Can Mark All Messages as Read
Remember how you used to have to exploit an iOS bug to mark all your emails as read? Now you don't! You can just tap the "Mark All" text at the bottom of your mail list and tell iOS 7 what you want.
2. You Can Make Audio-Only FaceTime Calls
You don't have to make a call with just your face. If you want to reach another iOS or OS X user without burning up your cellular minutes, or you just look like crap and don't want anyone to see you, then you can ring them via FaceTime. Just initiate the call the same way you would with video but click the phone icon instead.
1. You Can Block Calls and Messages
For quite some time you couldn't block calls through iOS, allowing annoying people to bother you unless you could get your carrier to handle the task. Harassment sucks in any form, and we're very happy to see Apple taking measures to stop it. If you want to block someone from sending you a call or message, you just need to hop into Settings -> Phone and/or Settings -> Messages and find the Blocked section toward the bottom. Tap it and add any people you don't want. You can always remove them if you change your mind.
Note from the author: I do not yet have an iPhone that can support iOS7. I have an ancient 3GS that will be rendered unusable if I download the new operating system, so I have to wait until I buy a new iPhone...which may be today! If you know of one for sale for a good price, please let me know. I'll buy it from you.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.