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Apple removes Skype from Chinese app store after request from Ministry of Public Security

Apple has removed Skype from the App Store in China following a request from the Ministry of Public Security …


Source: 9to5Mac | 21 Nov 2017 | 8:38 am

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Own The Nine-Film Mel Brooks Collection For $20

Today on Amazon, $20 gets you nine popular Mel Brooks films on Blu-ray, including Blazing Saddles, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, and Spaceballs, plus a ton of special features. That’s an all-time low, and the first time it’s been under $30 in months. Needless to say, it would make a great gift for the comedy buff in your…


Source: The A.V. Club | 21 Nov 2017 | 8:12 am

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Big, dumb bus ruins the implosion of the Georgia Dome for everyone

If there’s one thing you can count on after spending hours staking out a primo spot for the fireworks, it’s that some slack-jawed giant sipping a Big Gulp will wander into your sightline the second things get started. That’s certainly what went down in the above clip, which finds a big, dumb, lumbering bus ruin The…


Source: The A.V. Club | 21 Nov 2017 | 8:08 am

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Off Label Prescribing as Good as On Label

Once a drug has been approved for some use it may be legally prescribed for any use. New uses for old drugs are discovered quite often so off-label uses can be very different from FDA approved uses. Mitomycin, for example, was approved to treat stomach and pancreatic cancer but is used off-label in laser-eye surgery. Drugs prescribed off-label have not been through FDA-approved efficacy trials for the off-label use. In Assessing the FDA via the Anomaly of Off-Label Drug Prescribing I pointed out that off-label prescribing, therefore, gives us a window onto a world with much less FDA regulation.

Since off-label prescribing is common and in rapidly progressing areas of medicine often the gold-standard, I argued that the behavior of physicians validated off-label prescribing and demonstrated that physicians were willing and able to draw upon non-FDA sources of information to make rational prescribing decisions. Dan Klein and I also showed that physicians are supportive of off-label prescribing saying, for example, that it would be “crazy” to require FDA approval for off-label uses.

The support of physicians for off-label prescribing is telling but not dispositive. Perhaps physicians make hubristic mistakes in prescribing off-label. A new paper by Ladanie et al. (including John Ioannidis) provides important information. The authors search the literature for all the RCTs when an off-label drug was pitted against an on-label drug. They conclude:

Our meta-epidemiological analysis of 25 different treatment indications for off-label drug use provides no empirical evidence supporting any assumption of generally inferior treatment effects associated with off-label use. On the contrary, the summary effect estimates across all indications would even be compatible with more favorable effects, on average, of the off-label treatment. However, the heterogeneity is substantial and the on-label comparators are not necessarily the best approved treatment option in all 25 topics. While some off-label treatments are clearly better, others are clearly not.

The finding is especially impressive because although off-label treatments are sometimes the gold standard they are also often used when standard treatments have failed. Thus, in an RCT, off-label treatments could be worse on average and yet still provide a very useful weapon in the medical armory.

One might argue that if off-label treatments are as good as FDA-approved treatments then the FDA should have higher standards. FDA required clinical trials, however, already cost hundreds of millions of dollars and years of effort, creating drug lag and drug loss. Rather than condemning the FDA, what these results indicate is that the medical system–physicians, hospitals, insurers, scientists–does a good job at evaluating new uses for old drugs. As Dan Klein and I noted in our precis on off-label prescribing:

The off-label experience testifies to the fact that much knowledge about efficacy and safety is produced outside the FDA regulatory apparatus. The Pharmacopoeia’s recognition of off-label indications years ahead of the FDA demonstrates that physicians and scientists have certified thousands of drug indications quite independently of the FDA, even when those indications are not very closely related to the original indications. In addition to the Pharmacopoeia, there are several other forms of professional certification, including the American Hospital Formulary Service Drug Information, HMO formularies, and a wide array of specialist professional periodicals and information services. NIH studies, clinical results and determinations from other countries, and other professional, science-based judgments are examples of nongovernmental, non-mandatory certification.

Hat tip: Michelle Dawson.

The post Off Label Prescribing as Good as On Label appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Source: Marginal REVOLUTION | 21 Nov 2017 | 7:31 am

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Apple admits student interns worked illegal hours on iPhone X production line

Apple has confirmed a Financial Times report that high school students interning at Foxconn exceeded their legal hours while working on the iPhone X production line. The company has, however, denied claims that the students were forced to carry out the work as a condition of graduation from school.

The report relates to 3,000 high school students who take part in a three-month long work experience program …


Source: 9to5Mac | 21 Nov 2017 | 7:29 am

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Books that had hidden influence on me

Way back when, I considered the ten books that influenced me most, a list I still stand by.  In response, someone asked me to name the books that influenced me, but whose influence I probably was not aware of.  Let’s ignore the semi-contradiction in that request and plow straight ahead!  Here goes, noting that if memory serves I read most of these between the ages of 10 to 12:

1. Alexander Kotov, Think Like a Grandmaster.  From this book I realized you could think you understood a chess position, but then later learn you didn’t really understand it at all.  A huge lesson, one I learned again and to a higher degree when high-quality chess computers came along.  Most of the commentariat on economic and social affairs could use a reminder on this one.  This book also taught me that you learn by doing — trying to solve actual problems — not so much from pure reading.  Or the two in close conjunction.  It may be the distortions of memory, but still I feel this is one of the best books I ever have read.  Hail the Soviet training system!

2. Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games of Chess.  Reflects a certain kind of classicism in thinking and method.  Later, it was revealed much of the analysis was faulty and in part was from Larry Evans and not Fischer himself.

3. Reuben Fine, Basic Chess Endings.  I wasn’t influenced so much by this book itself as by a long series of articles in Chess Life and Review, showing the analysis was full of holes.  See my remarks on Kotov.

4. David Kahn, The Code-Breakers, The Story of Secret Writing.  I read this one quite young, and learned that problems are to be solved!  I also developed some sense of what a history could look like and what a history should report.  I recall my uncle thinking it deeply strange that a boy my age should be reading a book of such length.

5. Rudolf McShane and Jakow Trachtenberg, The Trachtenberg System of Basic Mathematics.  From this I learned how powerful the individual human mind could be, and also how much school wasn’t teaching me.  It began to occur to me that the mainstream doesn’t necessarily have the best or only methods.  That said, non-mainstream approaches still have the responsibility of coming up with the right answer.  Query: does it these days ever make sense to actually use this stuff?

6. The Baseball Encyclopedia, or something like that.  From this book I began to figure out statistics and how they fit into broader patterns of historical explanation.  I spent a lot of time with this one even before the age of ten.  It helped me understand my baseball cards in terms of a much longer perspective and also, if I recall correctly, it explained the underlying meaning of many of the statistics, albeit in what would today count as a very naive, non-Moneyball manner.  I still know that Chief Wilson hit 36 triples in 1912.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Joy of Sex, all given to me by my mother.  I believe they helped inculcate some of the 1960s-70s ethos of individual freedom into my thinking.  I also consumed numerous sports memoirs, such as Jerry Kramer’s Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer and also the war memoir Guadalcanal Diary.  From those I began to think about the relationships between character, work habits, teamwork, and success.  The Making of Star Trek helped me master the details of what was then my favorite TV series, and also to think about cosmopolitanism across different kinds of intelligent beings.  In addition to chess I also was influenced by playing paper and dice war games, most of all Barbossa (the exact title may differ slightly), a really scary game where you have to consider the possibility the Nazis could have won and thus think about the contingency of history.  I began to understand that violence could be a reality that stood above all else and how important it was to avoid such a scenario.

Then there is youthful science fiction, though perhaps that someday gets a post of its own.  I read a lot of books about music too, many about jazz solos and chord composition, including in American popular music.  Much earlier, maybe ages 5-8, it was maps and books full of facts about the world (ahem) and animals, most of all the taxonomic arrangement of the animal kingdom.

Finally, at the time I was fully aware that I wasn’t getting a single one of these titles through my formal school system.

The post Books that had hidden influence on me appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Source: Marginal REVOLUTION | 21 Nov 2017 | 12:21 am

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Romanian units collapse outside Stalingrad
21st November 1942: Romanian units collapse outside Stalingrad Nobody reacts when I try to speak to them. I am glad when this nightmare passes by me, but a little further on I encounter another group. And once again this barely moving trail of ghosts winds past, some with open eyes, others with eyes shut. They don’t care where this road leads. They are running away from war and want only to save their own lives. Nothing else means a thing.

Source: World War II Today | 21 Nov 2017 | 12:00 am

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Classical music scores as colorful data visualizations

Off The Staff

Off The Staff

Nicholas Rougeux, who describes himself as a “designer, data geek, fractal nut”, designed a process to turn musical scores into ultra-colorful images. He outlined his process here.

Rougeux also made video versions where you can see the visualizations form as the songs play. Here’s Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons:

Posters are available.

Tags: infoviz   music   Nicholas Rougeux   video

Source: | 20 Nov 2017 | 4:27 pm

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The global exercise heatmap

Strava Heatmap

Strava Heatmap

Strava, makers of apps that allow people to track and share their athletic activities, have released a global heatmap, a visualization of the humanity’s collective athletic activities. In a recent blog post, the company highlighted some of the most interesting spots on the map, which was created using 27 billion miles of data representing over 200,000 years of hiking, biking, running, skiing, and other sporting activity. Pictured above are the ski areas near Salt Lake City and kiteboarding in Baja, Mexico.

Tags: infoviz   maps   sports   Strava

Source: | 20 Nov 2017 | 1:49 pm

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‘So vote Roy Moore?’: ‘Fox & Friends’ flusters Kellyanne Conway
'So vote Roy Moore?': 'Fox & Friends' flusters Kellyanne Conway
The interview started out just as you’d expect from “Fox & Friends,” that reliable booster of President Trump, his agenda and his frequent outrages. Addressing the pending matter of tax reform proposals on Capitol Hill, co-host Steve Doocy stuck it to the people who oppose Trump: “Partisan politics is getting in the way and Democrats […]

Source: Erik Wemple | 20 Nov 2017 | 12:19 pm

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Tutus, Cul-de-Sacs and French Bottoms
A tutu (the thing that ballerinas wear) is a bum-bum, or an arse-arse if you prefer. Or, if you are of the American persuasion, I suppose it's an ass-ass. It's an alteration of cucu, which is itself a shortening of cul-cul, which is French for arse-arse. The French are terribly relaxed about such things, the British, thank God, are uptight and anxious. The very first mention of the tutu in 1910 said:She wished to exhibit what in technical slang is called le tutu, a term descriptive of the abbreviated costume and possessed also of a secondary meaning.And that secondary meaning was arse. (If, by the way, you were wondering what a tutu was called in Britain before 1910, it was a parasol-skirt).The French are always inserting their arses into the English language. There is, for example, the cul-de-sac which literally means arse of a bag and which sneaks onto English street signs without anybody noticing. Before this disgusting French term was introduced, the English had a much better, cleaner native term for a dead end; we called it a butt-hole. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary's butt-hole entry lists this as the only meaning.

butt-hole  n. a blind hole, a cul-de-sac.

1905   Westm. Gaz. 3 Mar. 3/2   The old dog's got him [sc. a badger] in a butt hole.
I have never managed to get a badger into a butt-hole, because I don't have a dog.The reason for all this Gallic hideousness is probably a thing called the French Revolution. What happened was that French aristocrats wore knee-breeches, but the French poor didn't and were forced to wear unfashionable trousers. This infuriated the poor. There was a big fight and it was won by the without-breeches, or, in French the sans-culottes.To be fair, though, even occasional Frenchmen sometimes have enough decency to look at their language and decide that Something Must Be Done. Voltaire wrote a letter To The Men of Paris, and signed it with a fake name and address. The address is given as:l'impasse de St Thomas du Louvre; car j'appelle impasse, Messieurs, ce que vous appelez cul-de-sac: je trouve qu'une rue ne ressemble ni à un cul ni à un sac: je vous prie de vous servir du mot d'impasse, qui est noble, sonore, intelligible, nécessaire, au lieu de celui de culWhich translates roughly as:The Impasse of St Thomas du Louvre; what I call an "Impasse", gentlemen, is what you would call a "cul-de-sac": I find that a street resembles neither an arse or a bag: I would like to give you the word "Impasse", which is noble, sonorous, intelligible, and necessary, in place of the word "arse".Many, many streets in France are now called impasse, and the word seems to have been invented by Voltaire.And if this whole horrid subject has made you recoil like Voltaire, you should remember that recoil comes from the French reculer meaning to go back. You could also read less bottom-fixated writing such as, for example, the new book A Short History of Drunkenness. It's by me but, as I recall, it only contains one bottom and that's Odin's (it's to do with a legend about mead).
A Have-Not (left) and a Have (right). Both are revolting.

Source: Inky Fool | 20 Nov 2017 | 6:43 am

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The British enter Benghazi
20th November 1942: The British enter Benghazi In doing so we came to a wadi and as we got to the lip we spotted an enemy machine-gun nest. The corporal alongside me popped a hand grenade into the nest, getting rid of that one. We tumed to our left flank and carried along the lip of the wadi and wiped out four more machine-gun positions and captured four prisoners before returning to our lines.The chap who was wounded died on the way back.

Source: World War II Today | 20 Nov 2017 | 12:00 am

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The publisher of blasts back at legal threats from Roy Moore
The publisher of blasts back at legal threats from Roy Moore
After The Post published an investigative article documenting Roy Moore’s pursuit of a 14-year-old girl in 1979, the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama pledged to sue the newspaper. “The Washington Post published another attack on my character and reputation because they are desperate to stop my political campaign. These attacks said I was with a […]

Source: Erik Wemple | 19 Nov 2017 | 4:57 pm

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Victor is still in Japan so life is still weird and I’m continuing to share my daily journey with him on instagram. Quick flashback to three days ago if you have been dunk since then (no judgement): Today the shop … Continue reading

Source: The Bloggess | 19 Nov 2017 | 2:12 pm

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So it’s day 6 of Victor being out of the country and leaving me to be an adult so today I changed the vent filter in my office and it was horrifying because IS THAT WHAT MY LUNGS LOOK LIKE? … Continue reading

Source: The Bloggess | 18 Nov 2017 | 4:57 pm

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Life Work Balance

I think a lot about work life balance on cruises because all of the noise is stripped away from life when you're on the ship. There are no errands, few interruptions, and no chores. You're left with the resources to do whatever you want, from work to sitting at the pool all day.

When work life balance is typically talked about, it's talked about as if there is only one correct answer, which is somewhere right in the middle. Enough work to do a good job, and enough of everything else to fill the rest of the time.

I'm pretty deliberate with my work life balance and I've adjusted it everywhere from working almost none to doing nothing but work. I don't really think any particular point on that scale is right for everyone, and I further don't think that any particular point on the scale is right for any one person all of the time.

Before thinking about your own balance, think about what you need more of in your life. We all want more money, but money is obviously not always the most important goal for every single person. And we all want fulfillment, often achieved through good work, but it comes from other places as well.

There's a point in most people's lives where I think they'd be best served by shifting their work life balance way towards work, beyond what normal people think is healthy. I went through that phase for a few years and made a ton of progress, but it was also one of the times on which I look back most fondly.

A few years of nose-to-the-grindstone can eliminate ever needing to work that hard again. Think about what would happen if you sacrificed everything in favor of intelligent productivity for 3-5 years. How far ahead could you get yourself?

A lot of the financial game is eliminating debt and big expenses and building up some capital and resources so that they start working for you. You can get ahead on that path in just a few years of truly dedicated focused work.

Some people are fortunate enough to get to the point where they don't have to work a full workload anymore. This usually comes due to shifting work life balance way towards work for a while. Then what?

I know some people who do zero work after that and they love it. They invest in relationships and get fulfillment by doing nice things for other people. I know others that work even harder, and some who are somewhere in between.

Because we have this societal norm of the very middle being the right balance, people often feel guilty for working a lot or working very little. I think that's a mistake, as long as you've really thought about what you're working towards and your balance is conducive to that. You shouldn't work when it's not bringing you closer to your goals, and if you're not going to reach your goals without working harder... it's time to step it up.

In general I think that most young people should be working way harder than they are. That's your time to build things that will last the rest of your life and make the rest of your life better. Make the sacrifice and set yourself up. After that, I think it's pretty normal to invest your time in building relationships, or even reconnecting with friends you've neglected because you were working so hard. Next, when you don't have a gun to your head and you've had some time to rest, you can work at your own pace on whichever project will make you most fulfilled.

That pattern isn't right for everyone, but I think it's a better one-size-fits-all than an even work life balance the whole way through life. Think about where you are in life, where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and whether your current balance is the right one for the job. If it isn't, shift appropriately. If it is, then don't feel guilty for over or under working. Embrace your unbalanced work life balance and be open to it changing in the future.


Photo is some ducks and geese in Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

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Source: Tynan | Life Outside the Box | 18 Nov 2017 | 3:16 pm

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Gnomegeddon is a blonde ale brewed by @breweryommegang in...

Gnomegeddon is a blonde ale brewed by @breweryommegang in Cooperstown, NY. The second fermentation with brettanomyces gives this beer that classic barnyard funk. • • • #Beerlabelsinmotion #blim #instabeer #brewstagram #craftbeer #beerlabel #beergeek #ilovebeer #beerporn #aftereffects #gnomegeddon #gnome #drstrangelove #ommegang

Source: Beer Labels in Motion | 16 Nov 2017 | 5:37 pm

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The Unhelpful Alphabet
Image result for alpha bravo charlieI spent my schooldays being asked whether I was related to Bruce Forsyth or Frederick Forsyth. It therefore bothers me that, now I have come to man's estate, nobody knows how to spell my name. But I can also never bring myself to say "Like Bruce".Anyhow, I spend a lot of time on the phone feeling slightly peeved as I say "F for forest, O for oligarch, R for Rabelaisian..."Your mind tends to go blank unless you happen to know the NATO phonetic alphabet - Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc. And I do sometimes find myself, in a fit of intolerable cruelty, throwing odd words in there. "S for sesquipedalianism".But then it occurred to me to wonder what the least helpful phonetic alphabet would be, on the basis that if you're going to be unfair to be people in customer service who are just doing their job, you should be unfair properly, methodically and with malice aforethought.The result is this. The Phorsighth Phonetic Alphabet. It's a bit weak in places. L is a cop-out. If you have any improvements, please leave them in the comments. It, of course, works best when read aloud.A for Aitch (or Are, or Aye)B for BdelygmiaC for Cue (or Chute or Chthonic)D for Double-U (or Djinn)E for Ewe (or Ex or Eye)F for Fill (to confuse Philips)G for GnawH for HeirI for ItselfJ for JägermeisterK for KnightL for Lwei (an Angolan monetary unit. One hundred lweis make a kwanza) Apparently, the Polish town of Lodz is pronounced Wodge, but that may be cheating.M for MnemonicN for NightO for OurP for PhewQ for QuayR for RwandaS for SeeT for Tmesis (or Tsar)U for… um [long pause and then continue suddenly]V for Vroom (although I was thinking of vrbaite, “A sulphide of thallium, mercury, arsenic, and antimony”, from the Czech, of course).W for WhyX for Xenagogue (a tour guide)Y for YouZ for Zloty[Edit: improvements are already being made C for Cue, Lodz/Wodge for L, and T for Tsar]
As I say, if you have improvements, I'd love to hear them. In other news, Djinn sounds like gin, which leads me back to my new book A Short History of Drunkenness blah, blah, blah. There's a cartoon about it on page 34 of the new Private Eye, and you can as ever buy it from these people.
AmazonBlackwellsBook DepositoryWaterstones
Oh, and in other news, I shall be doing an event in Clapham on Monday the 11th of November about Dickens' Christmas Carol. Well, it will actually be Dickens' Christmas Carol performed by the wonderful Martin Prest, and I shall provide explanations of where the Christmas traditions come from. More information here.And I shall be talking about A Short History of Drunkenness at the Hungerford Bookshop on December the sixth.
I may be Forsyth, but this is forsythia

Source: Inky Fool | 16 Nov 2017 | 8:53 am

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More on the Military and Civilian History of the AR-15

This past Tuesday Dean Winslow, a medical doctor and retired Air Force colonel who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a flight surgeon, appeared before the Senate Armed Services committee. It was considering his nomination as the Trump administration’s assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

At the hearing, Senator Jean Shaheen, a Democrat of New Hampshire, asked Winslow about mental-health issues in the military—and specifically about the shooter in the Sutherland Springs massacre, who had been courtmartialed and given a bad-conduct discharge by the Air Force for offenses that included threatening people with guns.

Winslow answered that question, and then volunteered a view that would have gotten more attention if not for the avalanche of other news. As a military veteran with first-hand experience treating combat wounds, he said he wanted to underscore “how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15.” You can see Winslow making these comments starting at about time 1:19:00 in the Armed Services Committee video here, and read about the reaction here, here, here, and from a pro-gun site here.

* * *

The question Dean Winslow raised—whether  a weapon designed for the battlefield should be in wide circulation among civilians—is one I’ve been addressing on this site.

Read On »

Source: James Fallows | The Atlantic | 12 Nov 2017 | 5:41 pm

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The Most Important Daily Task

What's the most important thing on which you could spend your time right now? Really think about it, don't just keep skimming. Maybe it's a work thing, maybe it's an errand, maybe it's spending time with someone important, maybe it's finally starting a new important habit. Or maybe you don't know?

It's not always obvious what you should be doing, especially when you consider multiple areas of life at once. How do you compare investing in a relationship to building your business?

Before you can know what your most important thing is, you must know what's important to you. That's not as easy as it sounds, because we've all been influenced so much by society that it's hard to know what we care about and what we're just expected to care about.

If you don't know what you actually want and why, it will not be motivating enough for you to get it, so there's no point in trying. For a long time I wanted to build a big company. Why? No idea, really. It's what you're supposed to do when you're in tech, but I had no personal connection with the goal, so it never happened.

Once you figure out what it is you really want, ask yourself if there's a better way to get it than to go down the path you're planning on going down. Maybe you want to be rich so that you can travel all of the time. But do you really need to be rich to do that, or is there any easier way? For example, I wanted to be rich to buy an island, but then figured out how to do it without going through the hassle of getting rich first.

It's easiest to commit to a task when you know that the end result is something that you really want, and that you're on the most efficient path towards it. If you have a vague purposeless goal and haven't thought about the best way to get it, it is very difficult to find the most important task to work on.

Once you've committed to a path towards a goal that matters, think about what could happen which would most effectively bring that goal closer. If you wanted to be a photographer because that would allow you to have the best lifestyle you can imagine, maybe having a great portfolio would be the biggest leap forward. Or maybe it's getting a good camera. Or making friends with an instagram model who would promote you.

When you figure out what that thing is, come up with a daily task that will guarantee that you get there eventually. If you can't think of one, choose the next biggest leap you could make and come up with a daily task for that.

So if you needed to make a great portfolio, maybe your daily task would be to take and edit 10 photos, compare them to the best 50 photos you have now, and replace any of those 50 with any new ones that were better. If you did that for a year, your portfolio would be the top 1.5% of the 3650 photos you took in a year. I'm not a good photographer, but I bet I'd have a pretty good portfolio if I did this.

The important factor here is that there's a chain of accountability linking your goal to your daily task. You know why you want to be a photographer, you know what you can do to give yourself the biggest advantage, and then you know what you can do every day to ensure that you gain that advantage.

Then you just do that one thing every day. Almost no one finds it easy to do the most important thing every day, but this process will make it as easy as possible. And, of course, this isn't the only thing you do all day. You might have several most important things for different areas of life. Or you may take 50 photos one day because you're in the zone. Or you can just use the rest of your time working on other useful stuff because at least you know that the number one thing is getting handled no matter what.

I love having bursts of inspiration and hardcore productivity days/weeks/months. There's nothing like the feeling of making major progress in a short period of time. But the best way to ensure long term progress is to come up with a daily most important task that guarantees making huge progress on your most important task. It's not a comprehensive life strategy, but it's part of one.


Photo is a cool platter for serving fish that I saw at the Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon

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Source: Tynan | Life Outside the Box | 11 Nov 2017 | 11:28 am

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Why the AR-15 Was Never Meant to be in Civilians' Hands

Decades ago I wrote in the Atlantic about the creation of the AR-15, which was the predecessor of the military’s M-16 combat rifle and which now is the weapon most often used in U.S. mass gun murders. After the latest large-scale gun massacre, the one in Texas, I did a follow-up post about the AR-15, and then a range of reader views.

Among the responses I got was from a man who as a young engineer in the Vietnam era had worked, at Colt Firearms, on the M-16. He writes to explain why he is shocked, as he says the AR-15’s famed designer Eugene Stoner would have been, to see this weapon anyplace other than the battlefield.

“I do not believe that there is any place in the civilian world for a family of weapons that were born as an assault rifle,” he writes at the end of his message. You’ll see the reasoning that takes him there. He begins:

During the Vietnam war era, as a newly graduated mechanical engineer, I was hired by Colt's Firearms, the original manufacturer of the M-16, and tasked with M-16 related assignments during my employment.

Read On »

Source: James Fallows | The Atlantic | 10 Nov 2017 | 6:00 am

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The 747 in Winter

November 8, 2017

ON TUESDAY, November 7, United Airlines operated its final Boeing 747 flight. Commemoratively designated as flight UA747, the plane left San Francisco at around noon local time and touched down in Honolulu about five hours later, closing out nearly fifty years of 747 flying for United. The company was one of only six current-day airlines to have operated the iconic jumbo jet since its inception.

Delta too is retiring its 747s, which it inherited several years ago through its merger with Northwest Airlines. This means the type is about to vanish completely from the fleets of North American passenger carriers. Once upon a time, United, American, Northwest, Braniff, TWA, Pan Am and Air Canada all flew the type simultaneously.

There are plenty of 747s still out there, scattered around Europe and Asia, but not nearly as many as there used to be, and the number is getting smaller. Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM and Korean Air are for now the biggest operators. Lufthansa flies 42 of them. British Airways has a fleet of 36, and says it will keep them flying at least through the next six years.

The 747’s replacement is not so much the double-decker Airbus A380, as many people assume. The A380 indeed has captured some of the ultra high-capacity market, but, with the exception of Emirates’ 100-plus fleet, it is found only in limited numbers. Rather, it’s Boeing’s own 777-300, which can carry almost as may people as a 747, at around two-thirds of the operating costs, that has rendered the four-engine model otherwise obsolete. Pretty much every 777-300 that you see out there — and there are hundreds of them — would have been a 747 in decades past. The -300 has quietly become the jumbo jet of the 21st century. United, American, and Air Canada are operators of the type, as are scores of carriers overseas.

In other cases, market fragmentation has resulted in carriers switching to smaller long-haul planes like the 777-200 and the Airbus A330. In past decades, traveling internationally meant flying on only a handful of airlines from a small number of gateway cities. Today, dozens of carriers offer nonstop options between cities of all sizes. More people are flying than ever before, but they’re doing so in smaller planes from a far greater number of airports.

The 747’s demise is painful for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s such a great looking airplane.

In the mid-1960s, aerodynamicists at Boeing, led by the visionary engineer Joe Sutter, faced a momentous task. Their assignment: to build the largest commercial jetliner ever conceived — one that would feature twice the tonnage and capacity of any existing plane — and make it pretty. Where to begin?

Well, specifically, you begin in the front and in the back. “Most architects who design skyscrapers focus on two aesthetic problems,” explains the architecture critic Paul Goldberger in an issue of The New Yorker. “How to meet the ground and how to meet the sky—the top and the bottom, in other words.” Thinking of a jetliner as a horizontal skyscraper, we see that its beauty is gained or lost chiefly through the shaping of the nose and tail. The builders at Boeing understood Goldberger’s point exactly, and the airplane they came up with, the iconic 747, is an aesthetic equal of the grandest Manhattan skyscraper.

It’s perhaps telling that today, strictly from memory, with only the aid of a pencil and a lifetime of watching airplanes, I am able to sketch the fore and aft sections of the 747 with surprising ease and accuracy. This is not a testament to my drawing skills, believe me. Rather, it’s a natural demonstration of the elegant, almost organic flow of the jet’s profile.

The tail rises to greater than 60 feet. Though it’s essentially a six-story aluminum billboard, there’s something sexy in the fin’s cant, like the angled foresail of a schooner. Up front, it’s hard to look at a 747 without focusing on the plane’s most recognizable feature — its second-story penthouse deck. The 747 is often — and unfairly—described as “bubble-topped” or “humpbacked.” In truth, the upper-deck annex is smoothly integral to the fuselage, tapering forward to a stately and assertive prow. The plane looks less like an airliner than it does an ocean liner in the classic Queen Mary mold. There is something poetic and proud even in the name itself — the stylish tilt of the 7s and the lyrical, palindromic ring: seven-forty-seven.

The 747 was built for a market — high capacity, long haul — that technically didn’t exist yet. By the end of the 1960s, a growing population craved the opportunity to travel nonstop over great distances, but no plane was big enough, or had enough range, to make it affordable for the average person. Boeing’s four-engined 707 had ushered in the Jet Age several years earlier, but with room for about 180 passengers at most, its economies of scale were limited. The technological challenges and development costs of the 707 had been formidable, and planemakers were uneasy with the idea of building anything larger. It was up to Juan Trippe, the legendary leader of Pan Am, who’d been at the vanguard of the 707 project, to persuade Boeing that not only was an airplane with twice the 707’s capacity feasible, it was a revolution waiting to happen.

He was right, even if vindication didn’t come easy. Boeing took a chance and built Trippe his superjet, nearly bankrupting itself in the process. Early-on engine problems were a costly embarrassment, and sales were alarmingly slow at the outset. But on January 21, 1970, Pan Am’s Clipper Victor made the maiden voyage on the New York–London milk run, and the dynamics of global air travel were changed forever. For the first time, millions of flyers were able to cover tremendous distances at great speed — at affordable fares. Four-hundred passengers at a time — New York to Tokyo; Paris to Rio; Hong Kong to Sydney — moving at five-hundred miles per hour in a safe, spacious, incomparably elegant machine weighing close to a million pounds.

It’s not a stretch to consider the advent of the 747 as the most crucial turning point in the history of civil aviation, and over a nearly fifty-year production run it would go on to become one of the bestselling airliners of all time. Of all Boeing jets, only its little brother, the 737, would sell more copies.

747 at Kennedy Airport, 1997.   Author’s photo.

In the second grade, my two favorite toys were both 747s. The first was an inflatable replica, similar to those novelty balloons you buy at parades, with rubbery wings that drooped in such violation of the real thing that I’d tape them into proper position. To a seven-year-old it seemed enormous, like my own personal Macy’s float. The second toy was a plastic model about 12 inches long. Like the balloon, it was decked out in the livery of Pan Am. One side of the fuselage was made of clear polystyrene, through which the entire interior, row by row, could be viewed. I can still picture exactly the blue and red pastels of the tiny chairs.

Also visible, in perfect miniature near the toy plane’s nose, was a blue spiral staircase. Early 747s were outfitted with a set of spiral stairs connecting the main and upper decks — a touch that gave the entranceway a special look and feel. Stepping onto a 747 was like stepping into the lobby of a fancy hotel, or into the grand vestibule of a cruise ship. In 1982, on my inaugural trip on a 747, I beamed at my first real-life glimpse of that winding column. Those stairs are in my blood — a genetic helix twisting upward to a kind of pilot Nirvana. (Alas, later-variant 747s adopted a traditional, ladder-style staircase.)

In the 1990s, Boeing ran a magazine advertisement for the 747. It was a two-page, three-panel ad, with a nose-on silhouette of the plane against a dusky sunset. “Where/does this/take you?” asked Boeing across the centerfold. Below this dreamy triptych, the text went on:

“A stone monastery in the shadow of a Himalayan peak. A cluster of tents on the sweep of the Serengeti plains. The Boeing 747 was made for places like these. Distant places filled with adventure, romance, and discovery. The 747 is the symbol for air travelers in the hearts and minds of travelers. It is the airplane of far-off countries and cultures. Where will it take you?”

Perfect. I so related to this syrupy bit of PR that I clipped it from the magazine and kept it in a folder, where it resides to this day. Whenever it seemed my career was going nowhere (which was all the time), I’d pull out the ad and look at it.

Its grace, its capabilities, and its place in history give the 747 an unmatched mystique that transcends aviation. Its legacy belongs to the bigger, more important context of human imagination and achievement. The nature and travel writer Barry Lopez once authored an essay in which, from inside the hull of an empty 747 freighter, he compares the aircraft to the quintessential symbol of another era—the Gothic cathedral of twelfth-century Europe. “Standing on the main deck,” Lopez writes, “where ‘nave’ meets ‘transept,’ and looking up toward the pilots’ ‘chancel.’ … The machine was magnificent, beautiful, complex as an insoluble murmur of quadratic equations.” No other airplane could arouse a comparison like that. Technologically, aesthetically, whichever — the 747 is without a doubt one the most impressive and inspirational works of industrial art ever produced.

But now for some fun:

The picture at the top of this article shows the prototype Boeing 747 on the day of its rollout from the factory in Everett, Washington. It was September 30th, 1968. I love this photo because it so perfectly demonstrates both the size and the elegance of the 747. It’s hard for a photograph to properly capture both of those aspects of the famous jet, and this image does it better than any I’ve ever seen. When I was a kid, I had a copy of this picture on my bedroom wall.

Across the forward fuselage you can see the logos of the 747’s original customers. The one furthest forward, of course, is the blue and white globe of Pan Am. Pan Am and the 747 are all but synonymous, their respective histories (and tragedies) forever intertwined. But plenty of other carriers were part of the plane’s early story, as those decals attest. Twenty-seven airlines initially signed up for the jumbo jet when Boeing announced production.

My question is, can you name them? How many of those logos can you identify?

Here, and here, are a couple of closer-in, higher resolution shots to help you.

Once you’re ready, scroll down for the answers.

The 747 in those archival Boeing photos still exists, by the way, and you can visit it — touch it — at the Museum of Flight at Seattle’s Boeing Field.


Here are the 27 original customers. You may wish to reference this close-up photo as you go along, left to right…

Top row:

Delta Air Lines Eastern Airlines Air India National Airlines World Airways United Airlines American Airlines Air France BOAC Lufthansa

Bottom row:

Sabena Iberia South African Airways Air Canada El Al Braniff International Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Swissair Qantas KLM Aer Lingus Alitalia Northwest Airlines Continental Airlines Trans World Airlines (TWA) Japan Airlines (JAL) Pan American

Twenty-seven carriers got things rolling, though many more would follow, from Cathay Pacific to Air Gabon. I’m not sure of the meaning of the order of the decals. Pan Am was the launch customer, and its logo is located furthest forward — either first or last on the list, depending how you see it. The rest may or may not be chronologically arranged, I don’t know.

Whatever order they are in, there’s a tremendous amount of history in those logos. Let’s take a quick look at each of the 27 carriers, and their trademarks. Again, left to right, top row first:

1. Delta operated only a handful of the original 747-100, and not for very long, although later it would inherit more than 20 of the -400 variant through its merger with Northwest. The last of those jets is slated for retirement at the end of this month. The Delta “widget” symbol is today a two-tone red, but is otherwise identical to the mark you see in the photos.

2. A single 747-100 flew in Eastern colors only very briefly before it was sold to TWA. The airline’s blue and white oval, however, one of the most iconic airline trademarks of all time, endured a lot longer. This was the final incarnation of the carrier’s longtime falcon motif, and Eastern used it right to the end, until the company’s demise at the hands of Frank Lorenzo in 1991.

3. The Air India centaur, representative of Sagittarius, suggested movement and strength. It also resembled the farohar, a Parsi heavenly symbol featuring a winged man. The Parsis are a Zoroastrian sect of the Subcontinent — of which Air India’s founding family, the Tatas, were members — and their farohar is a sign of good luck. Sadly, Air India abandoned this culturally rich trademark some years ago. The airline operated four different 747 variants before switching to the 777-300.

4. National Airlines flew the 747 on routes between the Northeast and Florida. In 1980 the airline merged with Pan Am. Its “Sundrome” terminal at Kennedy Airport, where the JetBlue terminal sits today, was designed by I.M. Pei.

5. World Airways was a U.S. supplemental carrier that flew passenger and cargo charters worldwide for 66 years, until ceasing operations in 2014. It operated the 747-100, -200 and -400.


6. Until this week, United Airlines operated the 747 without interruption since 1970, having flown the -100, -200 and -400 variants, as well as the short-bodied SP version. The latter were inherited from Pan Am after purchase of that airline’s Pacific routes in 1986.

7. American Airlines sold the last of its 747s more than two decades ago, but over the years its fleet included the -100 and, for a short period, the SP. The emblem in the photos shows an early version of the famous AA eagle logo, later perfected by the Italian designer Massimo Vignelli and worn by the carrier until its disastrous livery overhaul in 2013.

8. The Air France seahorse logo still graces the caps of the airline’s pilots. Air France flew the 747-100, -200, and -400. Today, the 777-300 and A380 do the heavy lifting.

9. BOAC, the British Overseas Airways Corporation, merged with British European Airways in 1974 to form what today is known as British Airways. That black, delta-winged logo traces its origins to Imperial Airways in the 1920s. Known as the “Speedbird,” this is where British Airways’ air traffic control call-sign comes from.

10. Lufthansa’s crane logo, one of commercial aviation’s most familiar symbols, is mostly unchanged to this day. The airline’s 13 747-400s and 19 747-8s comprise what is, at the moment, the largest 747 fleet in the world. The -100 and -200 were in service previously, including a freighter version of the -200.

11. Sabena, the former Belgian national carrier, flew the 747-100, -200 and -300. The airline ceased operations in 2002 after 78 years of service. This logo is one of the hardest to identify in the Boeing photos. It’s blurry in most pictures, and the carrier didn’t use it for very long. People are much more familiar with Sabena’s circular blue “S” logo.

12. Spanish carrier Iberia flew 747s for three decades, but today it relies on the A330 and A340 for long-haul routes. Different versions of the globe logo were used until the late 1970s.

13. South African Airways is among the few airlines to have flown at least four different 747 variants: the -200 through -400, plus the SP. The springbok, an African antelope, remained its trademark until a post-Apartheid makeover in the 1990s.

14. Air Canada recently brought back the five-pointed maple leaf as part of a beautiful new livery. Alas, you won’t be seeing it on a 747. The last one left the fleet in 2004.

15. El Al is Hebrew for “to the skies,” and the Israeli airline still operates a handful of 747-400s mainly on flights between Tel Aviv and New York.

16. It was hard to miss one of Braniff’s 747s. The Dallas-based carrier, one of America’s biggest airlines until it was killed off by the effects of over-expansion and deregulation, painted them bright orange.

17. Each of Scandinavian’s 747s carried a “Viking” name on its nose — the Knut Viking, the Magnus Viking, the Ivar Viking among them — with a fuselage stripe that soared rakishly upward into the shape of a longboat. Just a beautiful plane, as you can see below. That striping is long gone, but the SAS trademark, one of the most enduring in aviation, is unchanged.


18. After being in business for 71 years, Swissair closed down forever in March, 2002. It had flown the 747 -200 and -300.

19. Qantas — that’s an acronym, by the way, for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services — uses a modernized version of this kangaroo logo, and continues to operate a fleet of a dozen or so 747-400s.

20. KLM is the world’s oldest airline, and this logo, a masterpiece of simplicity, is still in use today, only barely altered. There are 17 747s in the KLM fleet. With United out of the picture, KLM joins Lufthansa, Qantas, El Al and BOAC/British Airways as the only members of the original 27 to have operated the jet continuously since 1970.

21. Aer Lingus 747s were a daily sight here in Boston throughout the 1970s and 1980s, before the airline downsized to the Airbus A330. A modernized shamrock logo remains on the tail.

22. Alitalia’s “Freccia Alata” bow and arrow is the emblem that readers had the most trouble with. This was the airline’s symbol until 1972, before changing to the stylized red and green “A” used to the present day. It looks even older than it is. One emailer described it wonderfully as, “something Gatsby would have on cufflinks.” Alitalia parted ways with the 747 in 2002, switching to the 777 and A330.

23. Northwest, which merged with Delta in 2008, was for a time the world’s largest 747 operator, with more than 40 in service. It was the launch customer of the 747-400 in 1989. The last of those planes, now wearing Delta colors, will be flown to the desert later this month, ending 47 years of 747 passenger service by U.S. carriers.

24. Continental Airlines flew the 747-100 and -200 on and off, but never had more than a handful. The “meatball” logo, as some people callously called it, was designed by Saul Bass and used from 1968 until 1991. Continental merged with United in 2010.

25. TWA, one of the world’s most storied carriers, was an early 747 customer and kept the type in service until 1998m — shortly after the flight 800 disaster. Though few people remember it, TWA also had a small fleet of three 747SPs at one point. The SP paint job included the markings “Boston Express,” and they were primarily used on routes from Boston to London and Paris.

26. Japan Airlines flew more 747s than anybody — at one point over 60 — including a high-density short-range version that held 563 passengers! (It was one of those “SR” planes that crashed near Mt. Fuji in 1985, in what remains the deadliest single-plane accident of all time.)  JAL’s crane logo, with the bird’s wings forming the shape of the Japanese rising sun, is the most elegant airline logo ever created. JAL retired the crane in 2002 as part of a monstrously ugly redesign, but wisely brought it back nine years later.

27. And then there’s Pan Am — the blue globe that was once as widely recognized as the logos of Coca-Cola or Apple. What can you say?

In closing, a little-known fact: Yours Truly was a passenger on the inaugural international passenger flight of the Boeing 747-400. It was a Northwest Airlines flight from JFK to Tokyo-Narita on June 1st, 1989. I have this commemorative sake cup to prove it…

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Source: | 7 Nov 2017 | 7:00 am

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Happy Halloween! 👻 🎃 Get hoppy with these spooky skeleton...

Happy Halloween! 👻 🎃 Get hoppy with these spooky skeleton bunnies in @offshootbeerco Shaken Cream IPA brewed with lactose, peaches, and vanilla. Yum! • • • #Beerlabelsinmotion #blim #instabeer #brewstagram #craftbeer #beerlabel #beergeek #ilovebeer #beerporn #aftereffects #halloween #offshootbeerco #bruery #skeleton #bunny #hop

Source: Beer Labels in Motion | 31 Oct 2017 | 2:17 pm

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Art of a Logo

THERE’S NOT MUCH going on this week. I suppose we could be talking about the new — and quite maddeningly vague — security rules affecting passengers arriving in the U.S. from overseas, but there’s little to be said that hasn’t been said a hundred times in these pages. If you feel that handing out questionnaires to departing passengers is a legitimate means of thwarting terrorists, and a useful way of spending resources, well good luck to you.

But the heck with that. Instead of some frustrating rant about security, let’s get nostalgic and return to one of my perennial favorite subjects: airline logos.

What brings me to this topic yet again is Walter Isaacson’s splashy new book out about the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, history’s most prolific artist-thinker-tinkerer. If that strikes you as the most baffling non-sequitir you’ve ever heard, then you’re too young to remember the old, 1970s-era livery of All Nippon Airways, which looked like this…

It’s without irony that the logo of All Nippon depicted Leonardo’s 16th century “helicopter” design — a corkscrewing flying machine that, while an impressive statement of the artist’s vision and intellect, could never have gotten off the ground.

That’s a hard sentiment to pin down. Were they just being cheeky, or was it something deeply respectful and reflective — a logo that symbolized four-hundred years worth of dream and ambition, a culmination of the journey from theoretical flying machine to the Lockheed L-1011? Whatever it was, it was the sort of incredibly cool logo that no airline in 2017 would ever consider using. It’s too intense, too esoteric, too meaningful in an age where corporate identity is sought not through meaning or concept, but through garish colors and swoopy things.

Similarly, perhaps my all-time favorite tail design was the one used by British Airways around that same period. The tail was this one, seen here on a 747…

As the kids today would say, that tail is dope. I’m not sure there’s ever been a better one. It’s so rakish, streamlined, and the angles so perfectly complement the angles of the airplane itself. And there’s something so undefinably British about it. Indeed, if it seems there’s something Union Jack-ish about it, that’s because the design is lifted directly from the banner. Look closely at the flag…

Do you see it?

Okay now scroll down.

How’s that for clever?

No, they don’t do airline liveries like they used to. Not for the most part, anyway. I’m a sucker for those that at least make an effort to incorporate some sort of cultural or historical message, and fortunately there are still a few out there. Aeromexico’s Aztec-inspired “eagle knight,” for instance, is a great example, and JAL’s tsurumaru crane is the prettiest thing in the sky. EgyptAir’s falcon-headed Horus is maybe the ugliest thing in the sky, but at least it means something.

The best ones, maybe, are the ones where you need The Google to help you out. I’m thinking especially of Iran Air’s peculiar logo. Inspired by the character of Homa, a kind of bird-horse-cow griffin carved on the columns at the ancient Persian site of Persepolis, the symbol was designed 1961 by a 22 year-old Iranian art student named Edward Zohrabian, and has been used ever since. How many companies have stuck with the same logo for 56 years?

Iran Air is in the midst of transition, and it’s just a matter of time, I worry, before this enduring mark is dustbinned for some stupid swoosh. Like Leonardo’s copter on the tail at ANA, it’s probably too old-fashioned, if not outright perplexing, by today’s standards. It’s also vaguely fetal and creepy-looking, I agree. But here’s hoping they keep it.

Source: | 27 Oct 2017 | 12:54 pm

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Showtime Evening Of Junior Middleweights: Beside The Point

Showtime on Saturday evening hosted three major junior middleweight match-ups, and the results were largely satisfactory. Jermell Charlo scored a stunning 1st round knockout of Erickson Lubin. Jarrett Hurd stopped Austin Trout in a bout that was competitive through most of the fight. Erislandy Lara used the main event to Lara-fy the boxing ring, stinking it up in an easy win over Terrell Gausha, but hey, two out of three ain’t bad.

The stated objective of the network is to unify the division. This did nothing to advance that cause. Furthermore, it’s a pointless exercise.

In all three bouts, the favorites won. Aside from Demetrius Andrade, Charlo, Lara and Hurd are about the consensus best in the division already. This changed nothing, except perhaps a scramble of who’s #1, who’s #2 and so on.

And even if Showtime gets what it wants, what meaning will it have? And that’s a question that has multiple levels.

This blog has droned on endlessly about what should be a dead horse already, but still it must be beaten, as it lives yet: These “champions” are not real champions. They’re men who hold belts; they’ve neither beaten the true, lineal champion nor fought as #1 or #2 to fill a vacancy.

Contemplate, if you will, the absurdity of three “championship” fights in the same division on the same card. If you are a hardcore fan, you are used to this sort of thing; you overlook it, because most every fight on TV every weekend is a “championship” fight, and it’s only slightly more absurd to imagine three of them in the same division all on one night in the same ring.

There is no other sport that does anything like this. If you’re a casual or new fan, how could you possibly take seriously the notion of “championships” doled out so easily that a trilogy of “championship” fights could coexist in the span of a few hours?

But let’s say you, the fan, see some value in these title belts that some elevate with the c-word. What is gained by the unification? We’ve already established recently on this blog that more belts doesn’t equal higher ratings; sometimes one belt on the line does better than four.

The eventual unified “champ” will last about as long as your morning coffee and doughnut. As we saw with Terence Crawford’s recent unification, he had dropped one of his belts within the span of 11 days. If he hadn’t, one or more of the belt sanctioning organizations would have inevitably and swiftly stripped him, as these organizations are greedy for a titleholder who will defend said title frequently at the great expense of his purse percentage, and guys with four titles tend to not want to put them all on the line for every fight at such a cost, even when the sanctioning orgs allow it. They have their divisional pets they want you to fight, the ones who have cultivated a ranking with a combination of actual accomplishment and connections (either via schmoozing, or, once upon a time [not to rule out now, but there’s no evidence of it], greasing of palms).

So there will be no lasting reign for these so-called unified champs, and no chance for anyone to supplant so-called unified champ for that honorific. Which goes back to the question of what is gained, a question to which this writer would answer, “virtually nothing.”

If anything was accomplished here, it was extrajudicial to this subject. At least two of the fights should have whetted the generic boxing fan’s appetite of putting two of the three victors in the ring together, and a specific genus of boxing fan would still enjoy seeing the odd man out, Lara, fight one of the other.

If Showtime really wants to bring clarity to the division, it’d stage a mini-tournament involving Andrade, Lara, Hurd and Charlo. The winner would inevitably become the clear champion of the division, save the implausible scenario of someone beneath them somehow amassing a record exceeding any of the four. Hurd and Charlo seem to want one another, Hurd is down to face Lara, Lara’s down to face anyone — because he has no choice but to take any paycheck he can get as a non-attraction — up to and including his buddy Charlo. Andrade and Charlo have bad blood that dates back at least to a canceled 2014 fight between the two.

We’ll see if Showtime can make this mini-tournament happen — sadly, while fan mileage on title belts varies, boxers tend to value them uniformly, which means they’ll allow themselves to be slaves to the whims of the sanctioning organizations ordering them to fight someone less interesting, taking a shitty bout over one that might make them more money AND entertain the fans more.

Post script on another accomplishment of the evening: the continued, surprising development of the Charlo twins as exciting fighters. Once decried as boring Lara-like technicians, these guys are scoring nasty knockouts now, and are emphasizing nasty personalities outside the ring. It’s unsavory to this writer to see them defying the sport’s norm of sportsmanship after victory, but it does add “excitement” in one sense of the word.

(Jermell Charlo drops Erickson Lubin; photo via Tim Casino, Showtime)

The post Showtime Evening Of Junior Middleweights: Beside The Point appeared first on Queensberry Rules.

Source: Blogs | 15 Oct 2017 | 2:19 pm

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Tuesday Morning

Getting ready to get on big metal flying thing and go to isle of Manhattan. Smoke on your pipe and put that in.

But it's hard to think about that and to not think about, in alphabetical order: Las Vegas and Puerto Rico. My sympathies and shock are kinda bouncing back between the two of them, appalled that we don't do more to prevent what happened in the former and to help with what's happened to the latter. I sent money to Operation USA, which is about all I can think to do to aid Puerto Rico. I mean, it's not like I'm the head of a government who could care a lot more about those people down there.

About gun control? That's long seemed hopeless to me. I do have friends who own enough firearms to qualify as Gun Owners in anyone's eyes. Not a one of them believes people should be allowed to own the kind of gun you can take up to the 32nd floor of a hotel and use to kill 59 people, injure 527 others and leave countless others in shock. Any one of them could probably write a batch of laws that would cut down on massacres while still preserving the rights of responsible hunters and those who need a weapon for protection. But they're not driving this bus and I'm skeptical that those kinds of folks ever will, not even after the next "Greatest Massacre in U.S. History" or the one after that or the one after that or the one after that…

I do like what Seth Meyers said in the video I embedded last night. Maybe it's time to get politicians to at least self-identify where they stand. Get each one on the record answering questions like, "Would you be willing to support laws that would have prevented Stephen Paddock from obtaining the weapons he had in that hotel room?" And then we have to wait for the day when it would cause more candidates to lose elections if they said "No."

Gotta go pack. Posting will be sporadic here for the next week but it will include reports on the New York Comic-Con and various shows on or slightly off-Broadway.

The post Tuesday Morning appeared first on News From ME.

Source: News From ME | 3 Oct 2017 | 11:04 am

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Great Shakes!

I start most days with a chocolate protein shake made with Jay Robb Whey Protein.  It's the only chocolate thing I ingest since I (largely) gave up sugar about ten years ago.  Jay Robb products are free of sugar and also of artificial sweeteners, which neither I nor my body like.  They make 'em with Stevia and it's a pretty nice, protein-rich drink especially if you make yours with real cold water.  For a time, I also put in a splash of milk but I stopped doing that.

They have a couple of flavors but I like the chocolate way more than the others.  Recently though, I came across a product at the market that I'd never seen before — Jif Peanut Powder.  I tried adding a teaspoon of it to my Jay Robb chocolate shake and in addition to upping the protein count, I got a pretty good peanut butter flavor drink.

I was expecting something not unlike a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup — a mix of chocolate and peanut butter — but it doesn't work like that. No matter how little peanut powder I put in, the result tastes like peanut butter with almost no trace of chocolate. That is not a bad thing though. You might want to try Jay Robb Whey Protein, with or without the peanut powder.

The post Great Shakes! appeared first on News From ME.

Source: News From ME | 3 Oct 2017 | 3:50 am

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Linares Tops Campbell In Sharp, Close Boxing Match

If you can enjoy a sharpshooter standoff between two intelligent, crisp boxers, Jorge Linares vs Luke Campbell Saturday night on HBO hit the damn spot. Linares walked away with the decision victory where a 2nd round knockdown made the difference, literally.

Linares, one of the two top lightweights in the world, got off to a good start and finished strong, trading rounds throughout with Campbell controlling most of the middle. HBO commentators emphasized Campbell’s southpaw stance and size advantage, but he also boxed intelligently, picking his spots well to lead or counter.

For Linares, the straight right was the consistent weapon that won the fight. Campbell did good body work. This writer scored the bout six rounds to six, but a straight right from Linares that decked Campbell and bloodied him gave him the scorecard edge.

It was that way for the judges, too: One scored it 115-113 for Campbell, another 115-112 for Linares and 114-113 for Linares. That knockdown decided it.

Campbell has two losses early in his pro career after an Olympic gold medal campaign as an amateur, but this was as good as a loss gets. Only one complaint — he fought like he took off the 11th round, as though he had the fight won, and he ought to regret it.

In the era of “I’ll fight whoever my promoter tells me to fight,” it was great to hear Linares answer who he wanted next with his very first words: Mikey Garcia. Linares might not hit hard enough to make much of a showing of it, but he has the heart and the skill. It’s about the best fight you’ll find with a heavy favorite. Now if only boxing politics can get out of the way for once.

(Linares, left, Campbell, right; Tom Hogan – Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)

The post Linares Tops Campbell In Sharp, Close Boxing Match appeared first on Queensberry Rules.

Source: Blogs | 24 Sep 2017 | 1:04 am

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Commuting to Timbuktu
For a continuation of my adventures please go to my new blog here.

Source: djenne djenno | 20 Jul 2017 | 7:23 am

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The Last Time
Sometimes we are not aware when something happens for the last time. Circumstances change without our intervention; we take leave of someone quite casually and we don’t know that we will never see them again;  decisions are made over which we have no power which have  sudden and deep consequences in  our lives. But a few times  only  there is a conscious choice to end something of major importance.  Last night when I was sitting with my sunset cocktail over- looking the mosque, I knew that this daily ritual was happening for the very last time. I was regaled with a blue cloudless sky and a clear  sunset and I hung on to the very last dying ember of light as it descended on the horizon to the right of the Great Mosque. Then I had dinner on the roof alone under a clear bejewelled Malian sky.
The night before was the final party: a ‘family affair’ for those that have served at the hotel: a lovely evening complete  with Diao, our faithful Fulani  milkman who arrived  with his son; our griots came and sang mine and Keita’s praises.
They  sang of those that have gone, of Beigna and Pudiogou and of Fatou, but also of Papa, Baba and Maman, and of course of the lovely Elisabet, my film-making cousin.  
We feasted on the goat that we bought in Madiama market a few days ago, and Papa was respendent in his white hatted chef outfit.
For days the contents of the hotel have been quietly leaving.  Mattress by mattress, air conditioner by air conditioner, the hotel has trickled away until it stood quite bare, and only Maman, Baba and Papa were left this morning, dividing the last spoils between themselves. There has been a change of state: this hotel which I created no longer exists.
December 12, 2006:“Tomorrow it will be just a week before Hotel Djenné Djenno is officially open. In two weeks time my Christmas guests will already be leaving. But today the site was still just as usual, full of workmen, and full of wheel barrows and mud. But the clearing up has begun. Something major is about to happen- a change of state.In just over a week I will no longer be building a hotel, it will actually exist, and I will be running a hotel. My reality is about to change. Today I looked at all the space of the hotel which is about to be born. I thought of all the unknown things which will happen in this space, and which are now resting here like embryos. It is all about to begin to unfold. I thought of all the people who will one day come here, and laugh, have fun and make love here, although today they don’t even know it. And yet, by some mysterious workings they will come here ...So Maestro, soon soon, let the play begin..”And it did, and the players were many. And last night they all finally left the stage, sweeping the floor with their feathered  hats as they took  their final bow...
 ( this is the last message from Djenne Djenno. There will be more about other places and other adventures, inshallah.   Should you wish to follow me there, please look in here now and then. You will be directed to another blog  soon.  Thank you to all you who have looked in over these 11 years and followed my life and adventures in Djenné. It has been, so far, the best years of my life.)

Source: djenne djenno | 2 Jul 2017 | 6:04 am

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everythingthatgoespop: Breaking News: George and Amal Clooney...


Breaking News:

George and Amal Clooney are expecting twins!❤👶🏻

2017 taketh away (civil liberties), but 2017 also giveth (celebrity twins).

(Just popping back in to say AAAAAAAAAAAMAL. And BEYONCE.) 

Source: Suri's Burn Book | 9 Feb 2017 | 4:02 pm

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After Nine Years and 2,810 Posts, a Dot Earth Farewell
After nine years and 2,810 posts, a blog seeking a sustainable path for humans on a finite planet comes to an end.

Source: Dot Earth | 5 Dec 2016 | 7:07 am

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Facing Standing Rock Campaign, Obama Administration Blocks Dakota Pipeline Path
Intensifying Indian protests prompted the Obama administration to block a pipeline's path in North Dakota.

Source: Dot Earth | 4 Dec 2016 | 6:38 pm

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Seriously, though. If I go away, who’s going to tell Blue Ivy...

Seriously, though. If I go away, who’s going to tell Blue Ivy that she DOESN’T NEED TO HANG OUT WITH APPLE MARTIN JUST TO BE NICE? Because come on. You are better than that.

Source: Suri's Burn Book | 24 May 2016 | 5:00 pm

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999 Posts + The Big Blog Re-Design
This marks the 999th time I have opened my blogger account and started typing into this blank, white box. Not every post made it live, but the official file number is 999. I cannot fathom how that's possible, but I have never been prouder.This project started as a place to share what I was experiencing as a confused post-grad in a big, expensive city (again, because my friend Matt made me do it). I didn't have an ulterior motive; I just needed somewhere to write. And then somehow it became the catalyst for almost every major change in my life from that point - truly. I can track everything from my first script and first literary manager to my move to Los Angeles and my husband to this blog. Today it continues to fuel my creativity and serve as a place that I always return to find my voice as a writer. I owe everything to this little space on the world wide web.And so I thought I'd give the blog a little 1,000th post congrats gift - a full and complete re-design.It's way past time to take 20/30-Nothings into the 21st century. New logo. New look. Far better functionality, readability, and shareability (this is a word?). I'll also be introducing new features and ways to connect. And, most importantly, there will be really cool colors involved.   I'll be off-line for a week or so until the transformation is complete, but after that it's right back to work. Until then, please enjoy some back-log reading of my personal blog superlatives.And really, truly, THANK YOU. I think that a writer without an audience is technically still a writer, but it's really so nice to have you.   

Source: 20-Nothings | 24 Mar 2015 | 11:18 am

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Meditation For Beginners, Who Are Terrible at Meditation
As I mentioned, I've just started one of Deepak Choprah and Oprah's 21-Day Meditation Challenges. As I failed to mention on purpose, this is the third time...Basically Oprak create this user-friendly, totally guided, 100% free content that is released daily for 21 days. Each installment runs for approximately 20 minutes and includes an intro by Oprah, a lesson by Deepak and timed meditation with really lovely music. There is even an app you can download in case opening the e-mail they send and clicking on a link is too cumbersome - as it apparently was for me, twice.Each 21-Day challenge has a different focus. The first one I tried to do was something about finding the calm in your life, the second I can't remember, and this one is about Manifesting True Success. Bottom line they're all about centering your mind, but the focus is a nice specific they can keep doing them, I assume, but that's fine. So why do I want to do this? Because it is my understanding that meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for use in calming the hell down, something I could use 20 minutes (or years...) of in my life. Also, I like the idea of starting every day with some thinking, and then some non-thinking. And finally, people who meditate endlessly boast the benefits, and they are almost always people that I like and respect.So how is it going? I'm not sure I know yet. I have found a comfortable place and way to sit, which took three days. I really like Oprah talking to me every morning. Deepak has had some great things to say - like today he said that our body is our greatest ally in life, and if we can be in touch with it and work in union with it, we'll be in far better shape emotionally and physically. I tend to treat my body more like this annoying, evil twin that I have to lug around all day/life, so that was a cool brain shift.But when it comes to the actual meditating, I'm horrible. You're supposed to keep your mind clear and focus on repeating the mantra over and over again, but my mind immediately races to another topic, and then it's minutes until I realize I've been through three more topics and haven't said the mantra silently in my head once. It's frustrating, which is the last thing you want when meditating. That said, it's my understanding based on a Google search that this is very common. Meditation takes year and years of practice, and I have given it 4, 15-minute sessions. This time, I'm hell-bent on getting to 21. I'll provide an update at half of 21 (sorry, don't have a calculator on the ready). Until then, any advice?

Source: 20-Nothings | 19 Mar 2015 | 2:01 pm

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January 26 2015: The first reported US drone strike of the year...

January 26 2015: The first reported US drone strike of the year killed three people travelling in a vehicle in central-southern Yemen. This was the first attack since Houthi insurgents forced the country’s president Abdu Rabbu al Mansour Hadi, his prime minister and cabinet to resign. #drone #drones #yemen (at Hareeb, Shabwa-Mareb border)

Source: Dronestagram | 2 Mar 2015 | 5:34 am

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January 19 2015: CIA drones targeted a house in Shawal area of...

January 19 2015: CIA drones targeted a house in Shawal area of North Waziristan killing five, six or seven people. The identities of the dead was not immediately known however a senior Pakistani official said “non-Pakistani, foreign fighters” were among the dead and Taliban sources said the attack also killed local fighters associated with Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur. This was the third of four strikes to reportedly target Bahadur himself, or men loyal to him. The Pakistani government condemned the strike as a breach of sovereignty – a reiteration of its official position on the drone attacks. #drone #drones #pakistan (at Shahi Khel, Shawal, North Waziristan)

Source: Dronestagram | 2 Mar 2015 | 5:33 am

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