Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: No One Would Listen

No One Would ListenNo One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shocking really describes this book. When I began listening, I thought I would hear the story of the whistleblower who took the crook down... but no one really did listen. Only when Bernie's house of cards fell down did this story come out. Shocking that this small group of men (aka heroes) figured out the fraud and put the ponzi scheme in the security authority' hands, only to be dismissed and ignored oner and over and over again. What a sham of 'oversight'. I didn't know this part of the story, and am still shaking my head. A good listen.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: Deep Down Dark

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them FreeDeep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unimaginable survival and rescue...
It's hard enough to imagine being trapped underground, but to come out alive after months is almost beyond comprehension. I did think the rescue was remarkable when it happened, but I didn't "get" how complex the rescue was until I read (listened to) the book, and looked again at the diagrams of the site. How each man survived, not just physically, but mentally, is the heart of the story. The PTSD they suffered afterwards is both heart wrenching and not surprising. The book only touches this, but it's instructive. A good book if you are intrigued by the human condition. I was reminded of the incident and was drawn to the story again recently when the schoolboys were trapped in the underground cave in Thailand recently (now rescued as well).

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Review: Bad Blood

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gripping, read right through...
Remarkable that this actually happened. Perhaps it was innocent enough, with Elizabeth Holmes naively pushing ahead when a prototype wasn't ready, but it was so quickly out of control it's unforgivable. The degree of the fraud at Theranos is stunning, and quite the yarn to untie, given the powerful investors who wanted to turn a blind eye. The fact that it was a woman does make it more interesting, though it shouldn't. The book read like a novel, so it was rather strange to Google and find the real covers of Inc. and Fortune. It was also ironic to learn how much Elizabeth Holmes tried to emulate Steve Jobs... but she was a tyrant and treated employees like dirt. A FASCINATING listen.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: The Queen of the North Disaster - The Captain's Story

The Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain's StoryThe Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain's Story by Colin Henthorne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating look behind the scenes of this disaster. Aside of a few long technical sections, which were actually quite important for context, this was a compelling story. I appreciated the way facts were clearly laid out, and what was not known was not guessed at.

Only after some time, after Henthorne has laid out the the whole story as known to the public, explained the lay of the land (sea) as to where the ship was, detailed how the ship is navigated (including recent changes to the navigational equipment), and described his personal experience as Captain that fateful night, does he conjecture on what might have happened. He never says what happened to cause the accident, because he does not know. The situation was way more complicated than what non-mariners might imagine.

What he does do well is dispel myths and rumours that have captured the public's attention. He also defends the competence of the officer of the watch, Lilgert. He does not believe Lilgert was negligent. He does believe Lilgert made an error that caused him to lose situational awareness, and has some guesses as to what that might be, but believes in Lilgert as an experienced and capable professional doing his job.

There is lots about this story that is disturbing, and one is left with as many questions, but its an important story nonetheless.

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Friday, July 06, 2018

Death by Selfie: is social media worth it?

Shannon Falls, British Columbia
The tragic death of three young people at Shannon Falls, near Vancouver, BC, Canada, while out for a day fun with friends, has saddened many.

The group of friends were hiking near the falls, when one, a young woman, fell in. Two young men, one her boyfriend, fell or jumped in while attempting to rescue her. All three died.

News of the positive yet daring adventures of one of the deceased - a vlogger* - made me think of this death-by-selfie piece I wrote a few years ago. For me, the connection is the drive to share life experiences in social media. I'm not suggesting the friends were doing anything foolish when the accident happened; it just seems timely to share.

*Vlogging is a form of blogging based on videos (the vlog category is popular on YouTube).

DEATH BY SELFIE


- by Roberta Westwood

Think that selfie is fun? Harmless?

Aside of the downsides of "missing" the experience of where you are, because you're so busy capturing your selfie, you may be surprised to to learn that taking selfies is actually dangerous.

What starts as playful fun can cross the line when selfies become an obsession, in which you become less aware of your surroundings and take ever-increasing risks.

Especially for men. The truth is that while women take more selfies than men, 75% of selfie death victims are MEN.

Selfie deaths?!? Really? You bet.

Selfie-takers have been killed by:
  • Falling off cliffs while taking selfies (many)
  • Falling over viewpoint barriers
  • Falling over a cliff when leaning on a gate that gave way
  • Sitting on boulders forming a safety barrier over a gorge, which gave way
  • Falling into a volcano crater
  • Falling down stairs
  • Falling down stairs while taking a selfie at the Taj Majal
  • Falling off bridges (many)
  • Falling off dams (several)
  • Falling into a pond
  • Falling into a spring
  • Falling in irrigation canals
  • Falling into water reservoirs
  • Falling into a quarry filled with rainwater
  • Falling into a well, while leaning over it to take a selfie showing the depth
  • Taking selfies in a melt hole (cave) at the front edge of a receding glacier, when the roof gave way
  • Taking selfies with waterfalls (several)
  • Standing in rivers while taking selfies
  • Waves, when standing on the beach (several)
  • Waves, while standing in the surf, in a storm, taking selfies
  • Taking selfies with trains (several)
  • Falling off moving trains while taking selfies
  • Climbing on top of moving trains
  • Climbing on top of stationary trains mistakenly believed not in service (many by electrocution)
  • Crashing cars while taking selfies or uploading selfies while driving
  • Being hit by cars
  • Being hit by a car while taking selfies with airplanes
  • Standing in a boat to take selfies (drownings)
  • Climbing on a fountain to take selfies
  • Climbing onto a glass dome to take selfies, and falling through
  • Climbing on girders in a construction site to take selfies
  • Preparing to take a selfie by hanging from a rope from a high-rise
  • Leaping to take a "flying selfie" (at Machu Picchu)
  • Falling into a geyser while taking a selfie
  • Posing with guns (many!)
  • Posing with grenades
  • Posing with a rattlesnake
  • Posing with tigers at the zoo (several)
  • Taking selfies with a walrus at the zoo
  • Posing with a bison in a national park (gored)
  • Posing with an elephant near their tent on a safari
  • Getting out of a vehicle to take selfies with a herd of elephants blocking a road

Places where selfies have banned, due to deaths:
  • In Pamplona, Spain, during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona
  • At New York State zoos (tigers)
  • Anywhere in Mumbai (India has very high selfie deaths)
  • In Japan, selfies and selfie-sticks on train station platforms are banned

Places where selfie bans have been proposed, due to high selfie deaths:
  • In Paris, at the Eiffel Tower
  • In Rome, at Trevi Fountain
  • In Rome, on the Spanish Steps

Do you believe me now?

Even if you are not killed, just imagine the extent of serious injuries any of the above could cause.

Seriously, have fun out there, but don't let it cost you your life (or limbs!)


Related resources
List of selfie-related injuries and deaths - Wikipedia
40% Selfie Deaths from India, Selfie Obsession kills over 60 people Worldwide - Phone Radar
Mumbai sets no-selfie zones as deaths linked to selfies rise - Associated Press
No Selfies Allowed: Social Media Bans at Landmarks - Conde Nast Traveler
Selfie deaths: six people who died while taking a selfie - The Week
In Goa, red flags go up on beaches after tourist deaths: Selfies can be dangerous - The Indian Express
Selfies can be deadly - and India leads the way - Economic Times
Two young women struck by lightning while taking selfies - Economic Times
Death by Selfie - Martin Parr

Monday, July 02, 2018

Review: Blackberry Planet

BlackBerry Planet: The Story of Research in Motion and the Little Device That Took the World by StormBlackBerry Planet: The Story of Research in Motion and the Little Device That Took the World by Storm by Alastair Sweeny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

".... assuming the Blackberry prayer position"

I chose this audiobook for a listen, even though it is long out-of-date (it was published in 2009) because Research In Motion was a Canadian success story. Sadly, I do mean 'was'. What a shame that the company tanked, and Blackberry lost its position in the smartphone market (I had one myself, long after the company's high, and gave it up with regret). Hope to read a sequel one day, so I can understand what happened.

Listening to the first part of the book ~ about the emerging executive Crackberry addiction, and USA President-Elect Barack Obama's angst and efforts to convince the Secret Service to let him keep his ~ I was struck how absurd it all sounds in today's context: everyone is addicted to smartphones now, and the USA's oval office is upside down and backwards, with an out-of-control President tweeting gibberish and lies from bed.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Review: Resilience - Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to Success

Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to SuccessResilience: Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to Success by Lisa Lisson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I am drawn to stories of people recovering from tragedies, but a mom with kids dealing with the 'loss' of her husband isn't one that I relate to. I suppose it was the parallel story of Lisa's role as a senior executive in Canada that intrigued me. The third aspect of the book ~ Lisa's descriptions of her leadership style and business philosophy ~ was unexpected and, at times, seemed out of place. Yet it makes sense, if she is writing a book about her journey, that they would be included. Looking back at the title, it does seem to fit. I suppose the chosen audio clip for the preview was so laser focused on the tragedy of her husband's heart attack, that I wasn't expecting the rest. But... still a good read. I wasn't thrilled with the narration; at times the narrator spoke so fast I actually checked to make sure I hadn't inadvertently selected 2x speed.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Emeco 1006

This is not just a chair. It is the the Emeco 1006 Navy Chair, and it has a storied history.

Originally built for US Navy warships during World War II, the Emeco 1006 (pronounced ten-oh-six) found a second life as a designer chair used in high-end restaurants and by interior designers.

The story of Emeco and its famous chair is told in episode 310 of 99% Invisible. I found it fascinating.

Listen to the podcast.

Or read the transcript.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: Over the Edge

Over the Edge: The True Story of Four American Climbers' Kidnap and Escape in the Mountains of Central AsiaOver the Edge: The True Story of Four American Climbers' Kidnap and Escape in the Mountains of Central Asia by Greg Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unexpected Drama

Four mountain climbers plan a trip to far-off lands, to climb rock faces new to them. It's a place where others have been, but not many. It's away from everything, a quiet escape, to challenge themselves, to do what they love. Aside of a missing bag of gear, all is going well until, when sleeping in tents up a cliff face, someone starts shooting at them.

If you wonder how people get kidnapped abroad, it can happen like this.

The story of their kidnapping, their dramatic escape, and the fallout that left them estranged from each other are story enough. But there's more, when one of their captors, presumed dead, unbelievably turns up alive. It's a stunning turn of events that's hard for anyone to understand. A true story with an ending that changed while the book was being written. Definitely lots of unexpected drama.

I enjoyed the book, and Greg Child's approach. The only problem I had was keeping the three male climbers separate in my mind.... I find that happens with non-fiction books where everyone is referred to by their last name.

Overall, Arnold Schultz's narration was good, but sadly he just couldn't pull off the Australian woman's voice... perhaps he overplayed it, and it may have been ok if he just toned it down a bit.

I'm not a mountain climber, but suggest that anyone who is would find this book very compelling.


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A Berghain tragedy

Creative Commons image sakena on Flickr
Today, when surfing for city travel information, I stumbed across a reference to Berghain, Berlin's famed but unpublicized techno nightclub.

Where have I been living, under a rock? I spent 5 weeks in Berlin, and thought I had researched all the city had to offer, including off-the-beaten-track places and activities. But this place never hit my radar. Upon reflection, it's not really surprising. Not into the drug scene or clubbing, I am more plain vanilla than I like to admit to myself.

I was fascinated, half wishing I'd known about it, so I could have gone, but quickly tossing that aside with knowledge that I'd probably not make it in. I may be able to act bored and non-chalant, but at my core I am naive and wear deception on my face. I can't tell a lie, pull off a prank, or hide a secret - my face gives me away. Not that it bothers me ~ integrity runs deep in my veins, and I have no desire to lie or deceive anyways. So it's not a problem, per se. But I wouldn't have made it across the threshold.

But still, I was curious, and started to write a blog post (not this one). As I was collecting stories and links to augment my post, I came across one story from last month that stopped me dead in my tracks.

It was a story about an overdose death at the club. Sadly, not a rare thing these days, but the subheading caught my eye:
Deafening Silence After Overdose at Berghain - During an around-the-world trip last summer, a couple from California visited Berlin's legendary Berghain techno club. A few hours later, one of them was dead. Even today, no one seems willing to accept responsibility for the tragedy.
I immediately thought of all the travel bloggers trekking the world these days, especially those younger and more carefree than me, chasing excitement and experiences that I can't even imagine. Sometimes I worry about them, so this story just brought that all into focus for me.

The story is on Spiegel, which I appreciate for its thorough coverage of stories, its willingness to go down rabbit holes, to question the unexplained, and to expose loose ends that can't be neatly tied up.

Read it, I suggest.

For me, I think this is going to be on my mind for awhile...

RIP Jennifer.

Monday, May 14, 2018

metroburb

The "before" -  the former Bell Labs corporate campus 

Today I learned a new word: metroburb.

metroburb 

It's probably not in any dictionary yet, but perhaps its time will come, if more corporate campuses are reborn like Bell Lab's.

If you're not familiar with corporate campuses, they are huge purpose-built structures designed to hold all of an organization's staff under one roof. I've been to a few, including a number of visits to the a certain big box supplier's campus in Minneapolis (think a great big yellow tag). So specific are the designs that its hard to imagine a new use once the the corporate giants have downsized, decentralized or disappeared.

Architect Eero Saarinen designed more than one of these properties, including Bell Lab's monstrosity in Holmdel, New Jersey, USA.

Developer Ralph Zucker had a rather brilliant vision for what the building could become, creating one of his "metroburbs", the word he uses to create each "metropolis in suburbia" transformation of such spaces. The result, in this case named Bell Works, features offices, co-working spaces, retail, restaurants, meeting spaces and a library. A hotel and residential developments are to come.

In A New Urbanist Developer Gives Saarinen a Reboot, CityLab describes the vision and the outcome well. It's a good read. Check it out.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Review: A Higher Loyalty

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and LeadershipA Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by the recently departed FBI Director.

Although I expected to be intrigued by the most recent goings on (his firing, and the fallout), I was actually more engaged when listening to his personal and professional life up to that point.

I found the insights into how the FBI works fascinating, while I founds insights as to how DC works (or doesn't) even more bizarre than I expected.

Most importantly, I found James Comey to be honest and credible. He is a man of strong convictions ~ and I liked them. Mostly, I believe him, and have no doubt as to the lack of integrity of the fool that fired him.

View all my reviews

Friday, May 04, 2018

A quarterly box for your cat

Torn between laughing and something bordering on outrage. Well, not quite, but how dense an companies get?

But your cat will like the box...
Creative Commons image chromewaves on Flickr 

A travel magazine has added a whole new feature, launched with great excitement: a quarterly subscription box, that for a mere $89 a quarter - or choose the $39/month option - plus tax (of course), you get your magazine (separate subscription) in a box full of consumer goods meant to inspire you to travel. Free shipping! WTF?!?! Like this makes sense?

$350 a year can go a long way towards a vacation.

It's certainly not green: that box filled with fancy pasta made in Italy, along with gourmet olive oil, some one-of-a-kind wooden spatula (lovely, I'm sure), a little just-add-water herb garden and a boring (or exciting) scarf won't just sprout wings and fly.

Yes, I am a travel agent, and yes, I help people burn jet fuel to hop around the globe... the contradiction is not lost on me.

But here's what I'm thinking:

What a waste of money and resources.

Why not 'sell' contributions to micro-loans or give-a-family-a-goat or literacy abroad? Send me a story about who is being helped. Maybe fund an annual draw for a trip to a village helped? Or something both innovative and inspiring?

Just getting people to give their credit card (on a non-secure webpage no less), contributes nothing to the greater good.

It doesn't get the subscriber any closer to their travel dreams; rather it adds to consumer debt (for many).

It's madness.

PS. Looking for an image to put with this post, I tried 'carrier pigeon'.. and stumbled across a service that will actually carry a letter part way by bird - delivering it to the postal service to take it the rest of the way (along with a pigeon certification). It's called Pigeongram. More here.

Monday, April 30, 2018

WOW Air's Dream Job for 2

WOW Air is hiring for a dream job for 2. Is that you?


WOW Air is looking for a person - and their "best friend" - to visit some of the airline's 38 destinations around the world and document their travels in a digital guide. The job is just 3 months long. You will be paid, will be given an apartment in Reykjavik and, no doubt, will work your ass off!

Application deadline: May 14

Travel Guides announced: May 18
Start Date: June 1, 2018

Considering the "winners" will be announced a mere 4 days after the application deadline, your video application is going to need to be good! They are looking for you to show off your hometown, so get to work!

Where you'll report for work on Day 1
Want the job? Key links:
Now hiring for the world's best summer job
Travel Guide Job Details & Application Process
YouTube Video


Resources
Dream Job Alert: WOW Air Wants to Pay You to Move to Iceland and Travel the World - Mental Floss
Dream job alert: Airline will pay you to travel around the world - Good Morning America

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: Priceless - How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen TreasuresPriceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


As an art lover, I have always been fascinated by stolen art and forgeries. Who did it? Why? How? Where is the work now? Is it hanging on some rich person's wall? (and who does that anyway?!?!). Is it stuffed in a garage somewhere? Did someone stash it somewhere and then die? Can it be covered before it is destroyed and lost forever?

FASCINATING STUFF. If this interests you as much as me, you'll probably enjoy Priceless. It was pretty interesting to learn about how major heists were resolved. It was freaky to learn about works almost recovered and then the opportunity lost due to turf wars and egos. Regardless, listen and you will travel the world in pursuit of lost treasures.

The book was written as a memoir, so it includes the background as to how the FBI's first art sleuth got to his post, which was not what I might have imagined.

It was heartening to learn that the priority was on recovering works first, and catching the bad guys second.

It was equally disheartening to hear about how the art crimes division would fall out of favour, and an intelligent and dedicated agent would be bounced around supervisors that didn't get or appreciate art. But all in all, interesting tales, and a good listen for art and mystery lovers.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Merchant's Wife Teatime


I love discovering a new artist. Or a new-to-me artist.

Today it was Boris Kustodiev.

I stumbled across Kustodiev's work, A Merchant's Wife Teatime, when I was searching online for a picture of watermelon seeds! Thank you Google.

Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev (1878-1927) was a Russian painter, book illustrator and stage designer. If I have seen his art before, it didn't connect with me, as some of it is quite traditional.

But this image caught my eye. The colours, her rich robes, the cat... how WONDERFUL it is!!

Below are a few other works of his that I like.

Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev - Wikipedia




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Podcast: Ologies

I have posted before about ologies on my blog (read that ologies post here)... so I was interested to find that there is now a blog named Ologies.

I've subscribed, but not listened yet, but thought I'd post it here, before I forget.

Ologies Podcast - on iTunes
Ologies Podcast blog - Alie Ward
@ologies - on Twitter

Saturday, April 07, 2018

The secret on page 101

Great story on As It Happens tonight, and it reminded me of something from my Kamloops days...



This story reminded me of something my mother used to do, when she worked as the "book doctor" at the Kamloops library in the 60's and 70's.

Part of her job was to put the library's rubber stamp on page 101 of every book. If the book was shorter, the stamp went on page 51.

I think it had something to do with people stealing books, then saying it wasn't the library's, that it was a book they owned. As I write that now, it seems illogical, because if that was the case, why would the thief even appear at the library with said book?

Maybe there are librarians out there that know more about this.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought The Hunger Games not knowing what to expect, but encouraged by the reviews. I don't often read fantasy, so it's not a category I usually consider, but there was an Audible special, so it was a good time to try something new.

Right from the beginning, I enjoyed the characters and the narration was good. I forgot that I was reading/listening, and just disappeared into the book. The premise was so far from anything I could imagine, there wasn't much opportunity to think about what things meant, or what might happen next. The story clipped along, and what happened next was always a surprise.

I did like how the advanced technology and capabilities of the powers to be were slowly revealed, and I liked the juxtaposition of almost primitive conditions played off the surreal.

I accomplished nothing on my weekend, except drawing while I listened, until I was finished. Total escape, but not so good if you have things to do!

I gather this was #1 in a series (it ended with many unanswered questions), so I'm sure I'll partake of the series. Though will save the next one until I can afford to listen non-stop.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: Code Girls

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War IICode Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Code Girls break the code

Code Girls is an excellent "read" and I'm glad I didn't pass it up.

My mom worked in Communications in WWII (though on the Canadian side of the border), so was always curious about what she really did. There were many parallels with the story of the women in this book, which I enjoyed.

Regardless, it's a fascinating story. The lives these women led, and the very real contribution they made ~ for which they were never recognized ~ made for a good book. The details on how they broke the codes - and how complex they were - largely kept my attention. As I read other reviews before I purchased, I intentionally did not try to keep the women straight, and it was fine.

For the last 1/3 of the book, I was falling asleep with it at night, and although I set the sleep timer, I kept needing to rewind. As a result, I felt the same stories were being told over and over again... I don't know how much of that was repetition, and how much was my dozing off. But the end of the book wrapped up well. Very insightful.

See the great pictures on author Liz Mundy's website

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

GlobeIn

I stumbled across this innovativc company today, making a dofference... and allowing others to do the same. Check it out.

Artisan Box Subscription


Every month, GlobeIn brings the world to you in our signature handwoven basket, filled with heart and soul. The soul of craft and of far-away lands; the soul of our artisans, their cultures and the hours of work they’ve put into their creations. What you receive in the mail every month isn’t just a basket; it’s a treasure chest connecting you to the palm trees of Sri Lanka, the sugar cane fields of the Philippines and the desert sun of western India.

Shop


It’s our passion to discover extraordinary, useful finds from all over the globe and share them with you. Our shop features products sourced from direct relationships with artisans as well as vetted partner organizations. From Mexican woven baskets to Ghanaian coasters, each handcrafted good we share with you is remarkably distinct.

Social Good


We are dedicated to supporting artisans from around the world and in developing countries where, after agriculture, artisan goods are the second largest source of employment. By supporting us, you help reduce poverty by giving these artisans and their communities, a global audience. To help you connect with our gifted artisans, every month we highlight one artisan or artisan collective and ask you to crowd-fund their special project.

Creative Commons images 577 on Flickr

GlobeIn website
GlobeIn blog
@globein_world - GlobeIn on Twitter
GlobeIn on Facebook

More from GlobeIn
6 TIPS FOR TAKING AN ECO-CONSCIOUS VACATION
“WITH GLOBEIN, I FEEL LIKE MY MONEY SERVES A PURPOSE”

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Yes, I'm an introvert

Yes I am an introvert.

Yes I am shy.

Yes I am sometimes antisocial.

No I’m not stuck up. I’m listening and I’m observing.

I can’t stand small talk but I’ll talk about my interests for hours with anyone who will listen.

I’d rather be at home with a close friend or two than among a big crowd of acquaintances.

Don’t scold me in public.

Don’t embarrass me in public.

Respect that I’m reserved.

If I open myself up to you know that means you’re very special to me.

- unknown, from the Introverts are Awesome Facebook page

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jay Cross

It's been 9 years since I was totally immersed in the learning and development world, and aside of the occassional reflection on now being an elearner (vs creating the stuff), so I rarely think of all the people I used to follow in the industry. In scrolling through my old blog posts tonight, looking for something, I arrived at the beginning, in 2003, and my first posts. I posted a lot about learning and elearning in those days. My curiosity was sparked, and decided to see what one of the more delightful thought leaders was writing about these days: Jay Cross.

What I learned is that Jay passed away in 2015. I'm sorry to hear this. He really contributed a lot, and shaped much of the dialog of the day, so I am sure he is missed.

I met him a couple of times, at conferences, and attended some sessions with him. Always thought provoking, and down to earth. Jay was huge advocate of informal learning, while the industry was going crazy with structured learning.

Jay's Informal Learning Chart
View full size high quality image

Perhaps what I remember most, and loved, were Jay's observations about the world around him. After each conference he would post photos of odd moments and unusual discoveries he encountered. He always made me think.

RIP Jay.

An Industry Remembers Jay Cross


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Why truth matters

Peter Mansbridge's acceptance speech when presented with a lifetime achievement award, standing up against fake news and attacks on journalism. Well said Peter.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Farewell Stephen Hawking

It almost seems like he planned it, Stephen Hawking died on Pi day, the day Albert Einstein was born...3.14.…
@Kilderok on Twitter

It's not the only remarkable date in Hawking's life: he was born on Jan. 8, 1942 ― the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death.

Reading the Huffington Post's extremely well written story on the passing of Stephen Hawking, I was struck by how his brilliance was hidden by the very things we (society) criticize youth for:
  • "Hawking was an indifferent student, preferring to spend his time playing board games and tinkering with computers."
  • "He rarely attended lectures and has said that he spent only 1,000 hours on studies during his three years at Oxford, or just an hour a day."
Hawking was given just 2 years to live while he was still a student. An excerpt from the same article:

During a symposium at Cambridge on his 70th birthday, Hawking reflected on how much he struggled to stay motivated after his diagnosis. "Why work so hard for a Ph.D. when you could be dead in two years?"

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” he said. “Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time, was published in April 1988 and shot him into the limelight. Both a Newsweek magazine cover and a television special described him as "Master of the Universe".

Hawking travelled extensively to promote his work, and reportedly enjoyed partying and dancing into the small hours.

But his schedule left him little time for work and his students, and some colleagues were resentful of the attention Hawking received, feeling it was due to his disability. I personally find this both sad and disturbing.

A Brief History of Time sold an estimated 9 million copies. And, no, I have not read it (yet)...

Trivia:

  • Hawking reportedly declined a knighthood.
  • On 28 June 2009, as a tongue-in-cheek test of his 1992 conjecture that travel into the past is effectively impossible, Hawking held a party open to all, complete with hors d'oeuvres and iced champagne, but publicised the party only after it was over so that only time-travellers would know to attend; as expected, nobody showed up to the party.
  • At the release party for the home video version of the A Brief History of Time, Leonard Nimoy learned that Hawking was interested in appearing on Star Trek. Nimoy made the necessary contact, and Hawking played a holographic simulation of himself in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993.
  • Also in 1993, Hawking's synthesiser voice was recorded for the Pink Floyd song "Keep Talking".

Resources:
Hawking's website
Stephen Hawking collected news and commentary - The New York Times
Iconic Physicist Stephen Hawking Dies At 76 - Huffington Post

Monday, March 05, 2018

Vexatious litigant

Love it when I hear a word or phrase on the radio or a podcast that is new to me. Today it was "vexatious litigant". The context was a new story about a woman being declared a vexatious litigant. I wasn't really listening to the story, so the details didn't register, but the term did. Google certainly did help me, as I couldn't have guessed the spelling.

vex•a•tious


ADJECTIVE

1 Causing or tending to cause annoyance, frustration, or worry.
‘the vexatious questions posed by software copyrights’

1.1 Law Denoting an action or the bringer of an action that is brought without sufficient grounds for winning, purely to cause annoyance to the defendant.
‘a frivolous or vexatious litigant’
‘No man, let alone a vexatious litigant, has a vested right to bring or continue proceedings which are an abuse of the process of the court.’

Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries

Resources
 'Wasteful' B.C. woman who 'wouldn't take no for an answer' in court banned from suing opponents - the CBC story that started my investigation this morning

My choice of Oxford for my source today is not random. I've recently started listening to the Audible version of "The Professor and the Madman" by Simon Winchester, which tells the very remarkable story behind the Oxford Dictionary.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Review: The Girl from Krakow

The Girl from KrakowThe Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this book, listening on Audible, and can definitely recommend it.

Only towards the end of the book I started wondering about the book's title, because she wasn't actually from Krakow. Poland, yes, but not Krakow. Thanks to Alex Rosenberg's unexpected storyline, I was satisfied to understand by the end.

What an engaging story, and a character so well developed, I was sure she was real. World War II from the perspective of a Jewish woman who survived, in the open, in a disguise of her own creation, was remarkable. An interesting book on so many levels, with stories from Barcelona to Moscow built in. The loves and losses of Rita were brought to life through Michael Page's excellent narration.

Alex Rosenberg - the author's website

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 15, 2018

BIG list of museum podcasts

I stumbled across a great blog post the other day, essentially a collection of podcasts by museums around the globe. Whether you're preparing to visit a particular museum, are a podcast-addict or just live a curious life, Hannah Hethmon's hard work collecting all these podcasts, is sure to please.

Hannah Hethmon's BIG list of museum podcasts
Every Museum Podcast in One Big List
My own podcast about Icelandic museums, Museums in Strange Places, has given me the chance to see “behind-the-curtain” in so many amazing museums, and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that museums are leaving so many of their most human and compelling stories untold. Since it’s through podcasting that I’ve discovered these stories, I started to wonder how museums around the world were using podcasting to have a more intimate platform for telling stories and engaging their audience. To that end, I scoured all the podcasting platforms and reached out to the Twitterverse and Facebook groups to compile the most complete list of podcasts by museums on the internet. 
How the List is Organized (and Who I Left Off)  
I’ve divided the podcasts I’ve found into history museums, science and natural history museum, art museums, and a category for mixed-interest and other museums that don’t fit in the previous groups... [continue reading Every Museum Podcast in One Big List].

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Girl on the Train was the first Audible book that I was left feeling that I probably wouldn't have enjoyed as much by physically reading it.

I found the voices of the characters (nice job by the 3 narrators) carried me along, each drawing me into their inner world, and their lens on the story. As it was revealed, anyways. Just like if you were thinking about your day, you'd leave obvious stuff out, because it just IS, the unsaid hung around, waiting to be revealed. Then, ah, the penny would drop... that's what happened there.. and another piece of the puzzle fell into place.

I admit to being more intrigued at the start, when so much was unclear, than later as things became more grisly, but overall, a good story.

A good listen. I'll be on the lookout for Paula Hawkins' other books. Skillful narration by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sickle-cell anaemia

I knew Floyd had a medical condition that, despite his appearance of robust health, could and would see him land in the hospital for very long stretches. I recall that he needed to carry an epi-pen-like device, and also that he did not seem worried at all. I remember asking what I (as a co-worker) needed to know, and he would smile, chuckle and tell me not to worry. I understood this to be a philosophy of living fearlessly in the moment, as opposed to recklessness. I also remember him once telling me that his treating hospital said he had the thickest medical file of all patients they treated. So as shocking as his death was, I knew there were underlying issues.

I have been trying to remember what that was, and found the answer in a comment in FB RIP's: sickle-cell anaemia.
Sickle-cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person's parents. The most common type is known as sickle-cell anaemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin (haemoglobin S) found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances. Problems in sickle cell disease typically begin around 5 to 6 months of age. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks of pain ("sickle-cell crisis"), anemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections, and stroke. Long term pain may develop as people get older. The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years... [continue reading on Wikipedia].