Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Thank God I have done my duty."

J.M.W. Turner's H.M.S. Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.

Reputed to be Nelson's [1758-1805] final words.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


"Can you get me my watch?"
- An American soldier after having his arm blown off in Vietnam.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


From MIT:
Scientists can now label nerve cells in a rainbow of colors. This image is of a “Brainbow” mouse, which has been engineered so that different nerve cells glow in dozens of hues; it shows the hippocampus, a brain area that is crucial for memory.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

extroverted artwork


Source here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

market psychology circa 1929

"Take a rifle aim it at the ocean and hope to hit a fish."

victims of the Holocaust

Database here.


Mentoring is a relationship between two people in which one of them offers advice and guidance to help the other develop in a particular area. This has occurred for centuries in the arts: musicians and painters have traditionally sat at the feet of a master, their mentor, to learn from him. Today, sports stars often have a personal trainer, an individual who looks after not only their physical fitness but also their mental preparedness.

Business executives have become the latest group to subscribe to the benefits of mentoring. Sometimes their mentor is another person inside their own organisation, but more often than not it is an outsider. Mentors differ from executive coaches in that they need to have an overall appreciation of the job of the person that they are mentoring. Coaches are only attempting to pass on specific skills.

Business’s enthusiasm for mentoring has been aroused by several things:

• An awareness that the pace of change itself is accelerating, and that to be successful they have to improve their understanding of its implications. Mentoring (by an outsider in particular) is seen as one way of helping them to view the wider context of change in which their businesses are operating.

• A shift in focus back to the importance of the individual. Business has bred its own stars, just like tennis or athletics (think of people like Sir Richard Branson, Jack Welch or Meg Whitman), and stars need others to help them retain their sparkle. Attending conferences and seminars is not enough for their development and training. They need to work one-on-one (individual to individual) with someone they can trust. These individuals do not have to be brilliant managers themselves, any more than a tennis star’s coach needs to be a brilliant tennis player. But they do need a certain level of knowledge and skill in order to have a proper appreciation of the technical and psychological issues facing the person they are mentoring.

• The awareness (or, more correctly, the expression of an awareness) that it is lonely at the top. It has become acceptable to admit that senior executives are, by necessity, cut off and restricted in whom they can talk to and what they can say. A mentor from outside can set problems in a wider context and talk about them in a disinterested, non-confrontational way.

Managers can be both mentored and a mentor at the same time, in the same way that an athletics star can be a mentor for an up-and-coming young athlete, even while the older person is still competing in the sport and being mentored.

Mentoring does not, however, happen by accident. It has to be formalised to some extent. Meetings have to be scheduled at regular intervals. But in these meetings there should be no fixed agenda—just a mutual interest, good communication skills and some available spare time.

Mentoring is widespread in the United States, in both corporations and not-for-profit organisations. In other countries few companies have made extensive use of it, but its popularity is growing fast—so fast that some worry about the undesirable characters that the business is attracting. Steven Berglas, a psychotherapist and professional mentor, has written that some of “the former athletes, lawyers, business academics and consultants” who have become executive coaches “do more harm than good”. They cannot, he says, “spot the difference between a problem executive and an executive with a problem”. The former needs training; the latter needs help of a different kind.

Article source here.

wei ji

crisis ≠ opportunity

Contrary to Al Gore's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, there is no word that means both crisis and opportunity in Chinese. Explanation here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


$400 Charvet shirts here.

Image source here.


non compos mentis

Théodore Géricault, Man with Delusions of Military Command, 1819-22

garden variety

Agent Starling
If you didn't kill him, then who did, sir?
Dr. Lecter
Who can say? Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere. His dress, make-up...
Agent Starling
Raspail was a transvestite?
Dr. Lecter
In life? Oh, no. Garden-variety manic-depressive. Tedious, very tedious.

website sings whatever you type

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free Market

sums up the Renaissance

Balance, confidence, humanism. An era when the common individual becomes art worthy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

a place to eat in soho

208 seconds

"A smart person learns from his own experiences; a wise person also learns from the experiences of others."
- Captain C.B. Sully Sullenberger [born 1951]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

to lead out

Education derives from the latin root educere meaning to lead out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

atheist point of view

Religion Is Absurd
by Christopher Hitchens

Religion will always retain a certain tattered prestige because it was our first attempt as a species to make sense of the cosmos and of our own nature, and because it continues to ask "why". Its incurable disability, however, lies in its insistence that the answer to that question can be determined with certainty on the basis of revelation and faith.

We do not know, though we may assume, that our pre-homo sapiens ancestors (the erectus, the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals, with whom we have a traceable kinship as we do with other surviving primates) had deities that they sought to propitiate. Alas, no religion of which we are now aware has ever taken their existence into account, or indeed made any allowance for the tens and probably hundreds of thousands of years of the human story. Instead, we are asked to believe that the essential problem was solved about two-to-three thousand years ago, by various serial appearances of divine intervention and guidance in remote and primitive parts of what is now (at least to Westerners) the Middle East.

This absurd belief would not even deserve to be called quixotic if it had not inspired masterpieces of art and music and architecture as well as the most appalling atrocities and depredations. The great cultural question before us is therefore this: can we manage to preserve what is numinous and transcendent and ecstatic without giving any more room to the superstitious and the supernatural. (For example, can one treasure and appreciate the Parthenon, say, while recognizing that the religious cult that gave rise to it is dead, and was in many ways sinister and cruel?) A related question is: can we be moral and ethical in our thoughts and actions without the servile idea that our morals are dictated to us by a supreme entity?

I believe that the answer to both of these questions is in the affirmative. Tremendous and beautiful things have been achieved by science and reason, from the Hubble telescope to the sequencing of the DNA of obscure viruses. All of these attainments have tended to remind us, however, that we are an animal species inhabiting a rather remote and tiny suburb of an unimaginably large universe. However, this sobering finding -- and it is a finding -- is no reason to assume that we do not have duties to one another, to other species, and to the biosphere. It may even be easier to draw these moral conclusions once we are free of the egotistic notion that we are somehow the centre of the process, or objects of a creation or a "design". Dostoevsky said that without belief in god men would be capable of anything: surely we know by now that the belief in a divine order, and in divine orders, is an even greater license to act as if normal restraints were non-existent?

If Moses and Jesus and Mohammed had never existed -- let alone Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy or Kim Jong Il or any of the other man-made prophets or idols -- we would still be faced with precisely the same questions about how to explain ourselves and our lives, how to think about the just city, and how to comport ourselves with our fellow-creatures. The small progress we have made so far, from the basic realization that diseases are not punishments to the noble idea that as humans we may even have "rights", is due to the exercise of skepticism and doubt, and to the objective scrutiny of hard evidence, and not at all to faith or certainty. The real "transcendence", then, is the one that allows us to shake off the notion of a never-dying tyrannical father-figure, with its unconsoling illusion of redemption by human sacrifice, and assume our proper proportion as people condemned to be free, and able to outgrow the fearful tutelage of a supreme supervisor who does not forgive us the errors he has programmed us to make.

Read more here.

skateboarding clinic

Learn tricks here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Warren's son

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."
- Howard Buffett [born 1954] repeating one of his father's aphorisms

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In a world where

From Megan McArdle's Why Goldman Always Wins:
Unless you’re deaf, or have been living in an ashram for the past four decades, you’ve heard the voice of Don LaFontaine, known in the trailer industry as “the voice of God.” LaFontaine’s gravelly baritone popularized the phrase In a world where … and seduced us into movie after movie, from Dr. Strangelove to The Simpsons Movie. When he died last year, at the age of 68, one obituary reported that at his peak, LaFontaine was making $30 million a year voicing trailers and commercials.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

seminal figure

"I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create."
- William Blake [1757-1827]

Friday, October 16, 2009

point of view

Bob Curtin
You know, the worst ain't so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it'll be before it's happened.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948


Fred C. Dobbs
My Sunday school teacher used to say 'You've got to learn to swallow disappointments in this sad life.'
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, October 15, 2009

bad boy

"Damien had this idea for a piece where he was going to have his hands surgically removed and then, you know, sewn back on. It was mad but he was dead set on it. We found this doctor in Mexico who was going to do it, but luckily, he decided against it."
- Dave Stewart [born 1952] in the September 2009 edition of Fast Company, pg.73

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


How much do big awards pay?
THE Nobel prizes are probably the best-known of the many annual awards for excellence in a particular field. They offer great prestige and a sizeable cash reward, paying around $1.4m to the winner. Other awards deliver more money, however. The Ibrahim prize rewards African leaders for governing well with $5m over ten years, and another $200,000 each year thereafter. The X Prize, offered in a number of categories, is even more valuable but is handed out for one-off achievements. Writers and thinkers wanting to supplement their bank accounts handsomely may wish to turn to spirituality or a Spanish-language novel rather than journalism.
Source here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

reaching beyond your grasp

"Even pigmies standing on the shoulders of giants can see further than the giants."
- Charlie Houston, M.D. [1913-2009]

"I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
- Isaac Newton [1642-1727]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

celebrated rather than criticized

The Twist, 1964

Thomas Hart Benton [1889-1975] celebrated American life rather than criticizing it.


Eleven A.M., [1926]

Edward Hopper [1882-1967] emphasized the bleakness and despair of modern life.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

paintball collides with an egg

Image source here.


When asked what kind of Generals he liked, Napoleon's response was "fortuné" meaning "lucky."

sunset at the North Pole

Monday, October 5, 2009


"What's a drink without a nosh?"
- Attributed by Hawkeye to his grandfather.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

on acting

"If it was easy for you now, it would be worse for you later."
- Josh Brolin [born 1968]

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Exterior of Eli Whitney workshop, Washington, Georgia

"When the institution [of slavery] became profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased where it existed; and naturally as human nature is constituted, arguments were adduced in its support. The cotton-gin probably had much to do with the justification of slavery."
- Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, pp.149-150

military spending

Friday, October 2, 2009


"When Pop Art became fixated on serious things, Robert Rauschenberg [1925-2008] showed the way."


"Good business is the best art."
- Attributed to Andy Warhol [born 1928] by Robert Hughes [born 1938] who thinks Warhol had more of an effect on media than painting.

An earlier Warhol reference here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009