Thursday, March 31, 2011

Excerpt from Chapter one of Metropolis by Thea von Harbou, published six months before the silent film's release in 1927. The opening chapter does not appear in the movie. NOW THE RUMBLING of the great organ swelled to a roar, pressing, like a rising giant, against the vaulted ceiling, to burst through it. Freder bent his head backwards, his wide-open, burning eyes stared unseeingly upward. His hands formed music from the chaos of the notes; struggling with the vibration of the sound and stirring him to his innermost depths. He was never so near tears in his life and, blissfully helpless, he yielded himself up to the glowing moisture which dazzled him. Above him, the vault of heaven in lapis lazuli; hovering therein, the twelve-fold mystery, the Signs of the Zodiac in gold. Set higher above them, the seven crowned ones: the planets. High above all a silver-shining bevy of stars: the universe. Before the bedewed eyes of the organ-player, to his music, the stars of heavens began the solemn mighty dance. The breakers of the notes dissolved the room into nothing. The organ, which Freder played, stood in the middle of the sea.
It was a reef upon which the waves foamed. Carrying crests of froth, they dashed violently onward, and the seventh was always the mightiest. But high above the sea, which bellowed in the uproar of the waves, the stars of heaven danced the solemn, mighty dance. See the novel at:
The film is downloadable at:

Penn Central Railroad History The Penn Central merger was consummated on February 1, 1968, between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad. At the end of 1968, the New York New Haven & Hartford Railroad was merged into PC by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Financial problems plagued the PC during its first couple years. Even though the merger had been planned for 10 years (on and off) before its inception, many problems faced the combined companies, such as incompatible computer systems and signaling systems. Penn Central also invested in other companies, such as real estate, pipelines, and other ventures. The idea was to create a conglomerate corporation, with the railroad as one part of it. This diversification program, even 20 years later, is a point of debate over the fall of the PC, as some people say funds that were invested in other companies could have been used to run the railroad. The end came on Sunday, June 21, 1970, when the Penn Central filed for bankruptcy under Section 77 of the Bankruptcy Act. Because of the Section 77 filing, PC was protected from its creditors, and trains continued to run, while the financial losses continued to pile up. Meanwhile, the U.S. Government created the United States Railway Association to develop a way to save rail services in the East, as the Erie Lackawanna, Jersey Central, Lehigh Valley, Reading, and Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines were all in bankruptcy in addition to PC. The result was Conrail, which took over the above lines on April 1, 1976. And what happened to the Penn Central Company? When Conrail was formed, the government bought PC's rail assets from the company, so the Penn Central Company (the former holding company for the PC railroad) still existed. PC entered into other non-railroad businesses, such as real estate and insurance. Some of these businesses were some of the original diversification investments made before the bankruptcy. On March 25, 1994, Penn Central Corporation changed its name to American Premier Underwriters (APU). APU was purchased by American Financial Group (AFG) in 1995, and remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFG to this day. In addition to its insurance business, APU still owns Grand Central Terminal in New York City, which is currently under a 110-year lease to New York Metropolitan Transit Agency.

Education Secretary Michael Gove says that children aged 11 should be reading 50 books a year to improve literacy standards. The Independent asked three of Britain's leading children's authors and two of their in-house book experts to each pick 10 books, suitable for Year 7 students. Mr Gove made his comments after observing a school in Harlem, New York, which sets pupils a "50-book challenge" over a year. See the list at:

Numbers War Official military records compiled in 1866 counted 40,275 North Carolina soldiers who died in uniform. Though known to be faulty, those records have gone largely unchallenged. With most of his research done, Mr. Howard has confirmed only about 31,000 deaths. "It's a number we can defend with real documents," he says. He expects to confirm a few thousand more by the time he finishes this summer, but the final tally will most certainly fall short of the original count, he says. Across the state border in Virginia, traditionally believed to have the fourth-highest number of war deaths in the Confederacy, librarian Edwin Ray has identified about 31,000 Virginia soldiers who died in the war—more than double the Old Dominion's once-accepted number of 14,794. And he still has more to add. "It's going to be close," says Mr. Ray, a 55-year-old Air Force veteran who works at the Library of Virginia. "Josh and I are sure of that. It's going to come down to a very small number." History books maintain that about 620,000 soldiers died in the war, when giant armies clashed in battles on a scale never seen before or since on the North American continent. Yet the 1866 counts, compiled by the federal government, were based on scattered and inconsistent Union and Confederate records. The new counts aren't likely to unseat the Civil War as this nation's most devastating conflict. The second-highest toll of American military losses came in World War II, with more than 405,000 deaths, according to a congressional research report. Still, historians say, the overall Civil War death toll could change by tens of thousands if every state were to conduct a count. It could also revise historians' understanding of which states suffered the heaviest losses.

Pallett makers war On one side, the wooden-pallet industry. On the other, plastic-pallet makers. The two camps—part of a $10 billion-plus industry for makers of portable platforms that are used to transport products from warehouse to store—are feuding over which is greener. Intelligent Global Pooling Systems Inc., a plastic-pallet company in Orlando, Fla., is suing the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association in federal court in Dallas. Intelligent Global Pooling alleges the "attack dog" trade group mounted an unsuccessful "conspiracy" to link plastic pallets to a contaminated stick of butter found in Texas last year. The lawsuit, referring to the butter, alleges a "malicious smear campaign." The trade group denies wrongdoing. It argues that it is the one that has been taken to the woodshed. It points to press releases from its plastic rivals calling wooden pallets bacteria-infested, nail-ridden fire hazards that kill trees. "They are bullies," says Bruce Scholnick, president of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association, in Alexandria, Va. "There is no question in my mind they started it." The wood people "fired the first shot," counters Bob Moore, chief executive officer of Intelligent Global Pooling Systems. "What they've done to us—they are absolute corporate bullies," he says. Roughly 65% of the pallets in the U.S. are wooden, but "plastic pallets have gained market share fairly rapidly, and the wood people want to stem that," he says. Adding to the tension, "green is a huge selling point" and both sides claim to be greener.

Feedback to A.Word.A.Day
From: Michael Poole Subject: Bailiwick
The meaning "A person's area of expertise or interest" certainly is familiar, but I have actually lived in a royal bailiwick, Hemel Hempstead in the English county of Hertfordshire. The town was first given a charter by Henry VIII, but since he had a country house there, the town was actually his property, so the mayor was also his bailiff. Until the 1970s local government reorganisation, the mayor's formal title was "Mayor and Bailiff". The islands of Guernsey and Jersey remain royal bailiwicks to this day.
From: Benjamin Hayes Subject: usufruct
This word brings back memories from my childhood. When I was young, my grandmother sold a plot of land she owned. My father was concerned because the land contained his favorite apple tree. The sale of the land went through with a clause on the deed giving members of my family open access to harvest apples from the tree. Years later, relations between our families soured when the new land owner piled objects of his near the tree limiting our usufruct.
From: Jon Aalborg Subject: usufruct
This seems similar in substance (not etymology or terminology) to the Scandinavian legal concept "allemannsrett", "every man's right". The concept of "allemannsrett" has variations, but basically says that land which is not cultivated or within a set distance from inhabited buildings (in Norway, 150 metres or in direct line of sight) is by definition open to the public and is open for personal use to anyone. This is the case both for privately owned land and for public (state) land. E.g., one is allowed to camp for up to two nights on land filling those conditions, provided the plot is left as it was on arrival and open fire is not used in the summer season. Picking berries, hiking, and other non-intrusive and non-damaging use of land and vegetation for personal use is included, as is non-profit fishing with personal tackle (subject to regulations).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Novels about the Civil War or set during that time period
... and Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Gilead: a Novel by Marilynne Robinson
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
She initially titled the book "Pansy," the original name for Scarlett O'Hara. Although never seriously considered, the title "Pansy" was dropped once Macmillan persuaded Mitchell to rename the main character. Other proposed titles included "Tote the Weary Load" and "Tomorrow is Another Day," the latter taken from the last line in the book; the publisher noted that there were several books close to the same title at the time, so Mitchell was asked to find another title. She chose Gone with the Wind.
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
The March: a Novel by E.L. Doctorow
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
See a listing at:

Civil War non-fiction
Pickett's Charge by George R. Stewart
Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863 by Shelby Foote.
Works by Bruce Catton
Army of the Potomac trilogy
Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951) — The first volume of the history of the Army of the Potomac, from its formation, the command of George B. McClellan, the Peninsula Campaign, the Northern Virginia Campaign, and the Battle of Antietam.
Glory Road (1952) — Continuing under new commanding generals from the Battle of Fredericksburg to the Battle of Gettysburg.
A Stillness at Appomattox (1953) — Catton's first commercially successful work, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history and the National Book Award for excellence in nonfiction in 1954, it described the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia during 1864 to the end of the war in 1865.
These three books have recently been bound into a single volume reprint titled, Bruce Catton's Civil War, which inappropriately implies that it addresses the entire war (as he does in his Centennial History of the Civil War trilogy) rather than just the Army of the Potomac.
Centennial History of the Civil War
The Coming Fury (1961) — Explores the causes and events leading to the start of the war, culminating in its first major combat, the First Battle of Bull Run.
Terrible Swift Sword (1963) — Both sides mobilize for a massive war effort and the story continues through 1862, ending with the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Never Call Retreat (1965) — The war continues through Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the bloody struggles of 1864 and 1865 before the final surrender. See his other Civil War works at:

The American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin, formerly in Bowling Green, offers eight exhibit rooms that follow the Civil War and Ohio's role in it. The American Civil War Museum of Ohio is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) public charity and all donations are tax deductible. See hours, address, events and more at:

Q: We know that oil was, and is, found in Hancock County. I wonder how landowners know if they own mineral rights to their properties.
A: "Conceptually, a landowner owns everything from the center of the earth below to the heavens above," says Findlay attorney Jeffrey E. Fort. That includes oil, gas and other minerals, unless a past owner sold or gave those rights away, he said. In this region, mineral rights most likely would have been transferred during the "oil and gas boom" of the late 1800s. To be safe, a title search for mineral rights should go back to when ownership was first granted by the government, Fort said. "Often, the landowner would sell the farm, but retain ownership of the minerals, thus severing the minerals from the surface. The problem, then, is that it is difficult to determine who now owns the minerals," Fort said. Fortunately, Ohio, like other oil- and gas-producing states, has a law that declares mineral interests have been abandoned if certain conditions are met, Fort said. "If there has been an oil well on the property, or one nearby, the title search should also look for oil and gas leases that may have been granted by an earlier surface (or separate mineral rights) owner. An old lease may have expired according to its terms," Fort said. Fort has more on this at

Q: A question about the courts for the NCAA basketball tourney: Are the logos, such as NCAA, decals or are they painted on the existing courts? It seems it would damage the floors in removing them.
A: Most NCAA logos are decals. Typically, when a site is selected, the NCAA sends various logos, banners and signs for the facility to display, said Greg Gilbert, assistant athletic director for facilities and compliance at the University of Findlay.,2011,Mar,28&c=c_13

Introducing GOING OUTSIDE, the astounding multipurpose activity platform that will revolutionize the way you spend your time. GOING OUTSIDE is not a game or a program, not a device or an app, not a protocol or an operating system. Instead, it’s a comprehensive experiential mode that lets you perceive and do things firsthand. GOING OUTSIDE: 1. Supports real-time experience through seamless mind-body interface. By GOING OUTSIDE, you’ll rediscover the joy and satisfaction of actually doing something. 2. Is completely hands-free. No keyboards, mice, controllers, touch pads, or joysticks. 3. Delivers authentic 3-D, real-motion video, with no lag time or artifacts. 4. Delivers “head-free” surround sound. No headphones, earbuds, speakers, or sound-bar arrays required—and yet, amazingly, you hear everything. 5. Supports all known, and all unknown, smells. 6. Enables complete interactivity with inanimate objects, animals, and Nature. 7. Provides instantaneous feedback of physical movement in all three dimensions. 8. Is fully scalable. 9. Affords you the opportunity to experience weather. 10. Brings a world of cultural excitement within reach. 11. Provides access to everything not in your home, dorm room, or cubicle. Read more in: The New Yorker March 28, 2011

An allusion is a reference to something, usually an indirect reference to a statement by another or to a hint or suggestion, a passing or incidental reference. An illusion is a fanciful vision or a false impression or idea, a mental state in which one attributes reality to something unreal. Delusion is a mistaken impression or wrong idea, but the word also implies action - the action of fooling with a wrong impression or idea or the condition of being fooled or deceived.

The film Mr. and Mrs. Bridge is based on the novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan S. O 'Connell.
The musical Guys and Dolls is based on two Damon Runyon stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure".

On March 1, telecom tycoon Carlos Slim gave a sneak peak at the new museum where he plans to show his vast collection of art and collectibles, including priceless pieces by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, French sculptor Auguste Rodin and Italian master Leonardo da Vinci. The Soumaya Museum--named after the tycoon's late wife--opens to public on March 29, and admission will be free. Designed by Slim's architect son-in-law, Fernando Romero, the six-story, anvil-shaped building cuts a dramatic arc through the skyline of the capital's upscale Polanco district. Some 16,000 aluminum panels make up the museum's bending exterior, reflecting sunlight onto broad stairs leading to the entrance.

See images of the museum at:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Borders Group Inc. said it wants to pay key executives as much as $8.3 million in incentives and retention bonuses as it focuses on emerging from bankruptcy by late summer. The Ann Arbor-based bookstore chain said it traditionally compensated employees with incentives and requested a judge's approval of its plan in a filing March 24 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Executives would receive no incentive payments if Borders were liquidated, the company said. They also will not get a bonus for last year "due to the debtors' declining financial performance," Borders said. Borders filed for Chapter 11 protection on Feb. 16 after management changes, job cuts and debt restructuring failed to make up for sagging book sales in the face of competition from Inc., Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company made an emergency request to close at least 200 stores and said this month it would close at least 26 more. In another move, Borders confirmed Friday that it is reversing a decision to close its Nashville, Tenn., area distribution center and will instead shutter its Carlisle, Pa., site. The move would leave two centers — the Tennessee facility and one in California.

Born on December 15, 1832, in Dijon, France, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel grew up to become an engineer at a time when those in the profession were widely considered uneducated and uncultured. Eiffel, however, did not fit the mold. He was a great admirer of classic literature, with a vast library of leather-bound works by Voltaire, Zola, Hugo, and others. He published 31 books and treatises documenting his numerous projects and experiments during his lifetime. He swam and fenced well into his 80s, and garnered honors and awards from governments around the world. In 1858, at the age of 25, Eiffel got his first big break. He was given the responsibility of overseeing the construction of a 1,600-foot bridge of cast iron, which would span the Garonne River near the city of Bordeaux - and he was to complete the task in just two years. With such a short time to finish the project, Eiffel was inspired to develop the first of many significant engineering innovations: a system of hydraulic presses (machines that were operated by water, steam and compressed air), which enabled the workers to drive the structure's foundation materials into the 80-foot-deep river. One of his first big projects with his own company was the construction of the Sioule Bridge, which stood 262 feet above the Sioule River, making it one of the world's tallest bridges at the time. The project enabled Eiffel to test three important innovations, which he would later implement in the construction of the Eiffel Tower: He used wrought iron rather than the heavy, brittle iron normally used for bridges, as he found it to be stronger, more flexible, and better able to withstand strong winds; he curved the edges of the piers, which were usually square or rectangular, to create a more durable, stable base; and he developed a system known as "launching," which used rockers to more easily move individual pieces of the bridge into place, like a giant seesaw. Eiffel was called upon to assist in the construction of the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel built an iron skeleton frame to which sheets of metal could then be attached, and embedded vertical steel beams in the granite base of the statue to which thin copper sheets were attached. The result was a lighter but stronger statue that was able to bear immense weight and withstand the harsh elements.

Created in 1889 for the World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower was intended to be torn down at the closing of the fair. The iron structure, then the world's tallest man-made object, was met with resistance from the citizens of Paris and from fair organizers. It was considered so unattractive that an organization was formed of high-society types bent toward removal of the monstrosity. Luckily, once the world came to gawk at their magnificently tall tower, the Parisians had a change of heart, and the tower was allowed to remain standing and has since become the symbol of Paris and France. In 1893, the Americans sought to outdo the tower for the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago (which was originally intended to open in 1892 to celebrate 400 years after the arrival of Columbus, but things got a tad behind schedule during the construction of the fair, thus the 1893 date). The Expo hired engineer George Ferris to build a response to the Eiffel Tower. Ferris, apparently as modest as his French rival, created a "pleasure wheel" so large and spectacular that it became the darling of the midway, and since, replications of his Ferris Wheel have been created the world over.

as the crow flies In a straight line; by the most direct route. This expression stems from the widely held belief that a crow flies in a straight line from one point to another. Sporting Magazine used the phrase as early as 1810.
Find the latitude and longitude of two places, and calculate the distance between them (as the crow flies) at:

make a beeline To proceed directly and with dispatch; to hasten, hurry; to rush, race, or make a mad dash toward. It is commonly believed that pollen-carrying bees return to the hive speedily and directly; hence beeline meaning ‘the most direct route.’ The term is believed to be originally American; it appeared in 1848 in The Biglow Papers by James Russell Lowell.

When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) writer and philosopher
If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor of dynamite, who instituted the Nobel Prizes.

William Merwin, 17th U.S. Poet Laureate, and the 83-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Shadow of Sirius" and more than 40 other volumes of poetry, essays, and translations, and his wife, Paula, live in what their friend and neighbor Michelle Sewell calls "a handmade house." It's built in the shape of a rectangle, surrounded by deep porches, or lanais. A few steps lead down to the home's entry lanai, where the Merwins place their shoes, and then directly into a living room that feels like a Polynesian longboat. Wood planks form the peaked ceiling and the floor is made of tightly fitted planks of darkly oiled eucalyptus robusta wood. To enjoy their garden, the Merwins head to their breakfast lanai, overlooking a valley filled with thousands of palms planted from all over the world. He insisted on disturbing the land as little as possible during construction, so no bulldozer was used to prepare the site. To save money, he designed the home based on 8- or 4-foot design modules, keeping costs low by avoiding using custom-made materials. By the time Paula Dunaway, a children's-books editor, joined him in the early 1980s, he'd built the 1,375-square-foot house. The couple later bought two adjacent parcels of land, totaling 15 acres. Mr. Merwin wrote much of "The Folding Cliffs," a novel in verse of 19th-century Hawaii, in his home's west lanai, which overlooks a dense section of the palm forest. One of his best-known poems, titled "Place," begins, "On the last day of the world / I would want to plant a tree."

Read Merwin's poem Place at:
At age 18, W.S. Merwin contacted Ezra Pound and asked for advice on what he should do to become a poet. Pound came back with write 75 lines of poetry every day and, oh, by the way, you ought to translate poetry from other languages into English, to learn what a person can do with language

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is the difference between non-profit and tax exempt? Non-profit status is a state law concept. Non-profit status may make an organization eligible for certain benefits, such as state sales, property, and income tax exemptions. Although most federal tax-exempt organizations are non-profit organizations, organizing as a non-profit organization at the state level does not automatically grant the organization exemption from federal income tax. To qualify as exempt from federal income taxes, an organization must meet requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. See Types of Tax-Exempt Organizations,,id=96931,00.html or Publication 557 for more information.,,id=136195,00.html

What is the difference between non-profit and not-for profit? A nonprofit entity is one that does not generate a profit for its owners. Most nonprofit organizations are also private, meaning no one besides the owner has a stake in the money the organization earns. Nonprofits use any income they receive over and above their operational costs for ventures related to the organization's purpose. A not-for-profit entity is one that centers on or participates in a particular activity, but not for the purposes of actively earning income. While not-for-profits could be considered charitable, they are not inherently so and can be something as simple as a group of friends participating in a favorite hobby. In contrast with nonprofits, not-for-profits do not necessarily seek revenue from outside sources and may instead rely on membership dues or fees to cover operational costs.

Colin Farrell read The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) at the funeral of Elizabeth Taylor on March 24. See the poems at:

Gerard Manley Hopkins brought changes to poetry. Prior to Hopkins, most Middle English and Modern English poetry was based on a rhythmic structure inherited from the Norman side of English literary heritage. This structure is based on repeating groups of two or three syllables, with the stressed syllable falling in the same place on each repetition. Hopkins called this structure "running rhythm", and though he wrote some of his early verse in running rhythm he became fascinated with the older rhythmic structure of the Anglo-Saxon tradition, of which Beowulf is the most famous example. Hopkins called his own rhythmic structure sprung rhythm. Sprung rhythm is structured around feet with a variable number of syllables, generally between one and four syllables per foot, with the stress always falling on the first syllable in a foot. In reality, it more closely resembles the "rolling stresses" of Robinson Jeffers, another poet who rejected conventional metre. Hopkins saw sprung rhythm as a way to escape the constraints of running rhythm, which he said inevitably pushed poetry written in it to become "same and tame." In this way, Hopkins can be seen as anticipating much of free verse.

The Mariana Islands (also the Marianas; up to the early 20th century sometimes called Ladrones Islands, from Spanish Islas de los Ladrones meaning "Islands of Thieves") are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east. They are south of Japan and north of New Guinea, and immediately to the east of the Philippine Sea. The south end of the Marianas chain is the island of Guam. The islands were named after Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria in the 17th century, when Spain started the colonization of the archipielago. The islands are part of a geologic structure known as the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc system, and range in age from 5 million years old in the north to 30 million years old in the south (Guam). The island chain arises as a result of the western edge of the Pacific Plate moving westward and plunging downward below the Mariana plate, a region which is the most volcanically active convergent plate boundary on Earth. This subduction region, just east of the island chain, forms the noted Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's oceans and lowest part of Earth's crust. The Marianas islands are the northern part of the Micronesia island group, although their government is under a different jurisdiction from much of the rest of geographical Micronesia. Today, the Marianas Islands are composed of two U.S. jurisdictions: the territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Mariana Trench is located in the Pacific Ocean, just east of the Mariana Islands (11"21' North latitude and 142" 12' East longitude ) near Japan. It is the deepest part of the earth's oceans, and the deepest location of the earth itself. It was created by ocean-to-ocean subduction, a phenomena in which a plate topped by oceanic crust is subducted beneath another plate topped by oceanic crust. The deepest part of the Mariana Trench is the Challenger Deep, so named after the exploratory vessel HMS Challenger II; a fishing boat converted into a sea lab by Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard.

Marianas Trench is a Canadian pop rock band.

Quote Austrians can't play soccer well. Austrians can ski and waltz. Christof Höpler , cellarmaster March 22, 2011
Austrian wine law:

Q. What do you call the two dots over the o in Höpler? A. Umlaut noun 1. a mark (¨) used as a diacritic over a vowel, as ä, ö, ü, to indicate a vowel sound different from that of the letter without the diacritic, especially as so used in German. 2. Also called vowel mutation. (in Germanic languages) assimilation in which a vowel is influenced by a following vowel or semivowel. verb (used with object) 3. to modify by umlaut. 4. to write an umlaut over.

How to type characters with umlaut accent marks on a Mac or a PC: Note that it takes about two seconds to create an umlaut. On a PC, hit Alt, type 0246 on the number pad, enter. On a Mac, hold down Opt while typing the letter.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is the Google Books settlement dead in the water? It’s likely too soon to make so dramatic a proclamation, but Second Circuit judge Denny Chin on March 22 dealt it a significant setback when he rejected Google’s settlement with authors and publishers that would allow it to make millions of books available online. The rationale: such a project would give Google the ability to “exploit” books without the permission of copyright owners. The opinion is here: In his 48-page ruling, Denny Chin, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, denied the 2008 settlement, but he did offer the parties a glimmer of hope with a potential solution. The solution, Judge Chin suggested, is simple: rather than let copyright owners of books to “opt out” of the settlement, which was reached in 2008 between Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, copyright owners should be given the choice to “opt in.” “I urge the parties to consider revising the [settlement] accordingly,” Judge Chin wrote.

In verse, many meters use a foot as the basic unit in their description of the underlying rhythm of a poem. Both the quantitative meter of classical poetry and the accentual-syllabic meter of most poetry in English use the foot as the fundamental building block. A foot consists of a certain number of syllables forming part of a line of verse. A foot is described by the character and number of syllables it contains: in English, feet are named for the combination of accented and unaccented syllables; in other languages such as Latin and Greek, the duration of the syllable (long or short) is measured. The most common feet in English verse are the iamb, the trochee, the dactyl, and the anapest. See lists describing the feet in terms of vowel length (as in classical languages) at: Translated into syllable stresses (as in English poetry), 'long' becomes 'stressed' ('accented'), and 'short' becomes 'unstressed' ('unaccented'). For example, an iamb, which is short-long in classical meter, becomes unstressed-stressed, as in the English word "betray."

Studies conducted over the past five years by the University of Technology, Sydney found that small groups of the Janet Craig and Sweet Chico plants placed in offices with high airborne concentrations of volatile organic compounds consistently reduced total VOC levels by up to 75%. Reductions to negligible levels were maintained over the course of five- to 12-week periods studied. "Potted plants can provide an efficient, self-regulating, low-cost, sustainable bioremediation system for indoor air pollution," researchers concluded. In another study at Washington State University, dust was reduced as much as 20% when a number of plants were placed around the perimeter of computer lab and small office for one week. Margaret Burchett, a professor who led the Sydney studies, estimates that six or more plants in a 1,200- to 1,500-square-foot house could achieve noteworthy contaminant reductions.

The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson) is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Each country participates via one of their national EBU-member television stations, whose task it is to select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay despite the fact that they do not compete. In the 1950s, as a war-torn Europe rebuilt itself, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)—based in Switzerland—set up an ad-hoc committee to search for ways of bringing together the countries of the EBU around a "light entertainment programme". At a committee meeting held in Monaco in January 1955, director general of Swiss television and committee chairman Marcel Bezençon conceived the idea of an international song contest where countries would participate in one television programme, to be transmitted simultaneously to all countries of the union. The competition was based upon the existing Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy, and was also seen as a technological experiment in live television: as in those days, it was a very ambitious project to join many countries together in a wide-area international network. Satellite television did not exist, and the so-called Eurovision Network comprised a terrestrial microwave network. The concept, then known as "Eurovision Grand Prix", was approved by the EBU General Assembly in at a meeting held in Rome on 19 October 1955. The name "Eurovision" was first used in relation to the EBU's network by British journalist George Campey in the London Evening Standard in 1951. The first Contest was held in the town of Lugano, Switzerland, on 24 May 1956. Seven countries participated—each submitting two songs, for a total of 14. This was the only Contest in which more than one song per country was performed: since 1957 all Contests have allowed one entry per country. See much more at:

Print long runners The printed word (or character, pictogram, what-have-you) is one of the oldest forms of passing information or creating entertainment. This listing honors print media that has reached the state of Long Runner . Print media includes books (and e-books), comics, newspapers, and manga. Long running is considered to be a print run of 20 years or more. Extensive list, including The Epic Of Gilgamesh generally considered to be the first concrete "story" humans have to offer. The first versions were written approximately four thousand years ago (2150-2000 BCE) and the most familiar version was codified about a millennium later (1300-1000 BCE). Even the first modern translation was performed in the 1873; Moby Dick: America's first "epic novel", published 1851, in print since the 1920s; Terry and the Pirates (1934-1973) and Mary Worth (1932-present). The oldest comic strip I found in this list is Mutt and Jeff (1907-1982).

Steve Roper and Mike Nomad was an American adventure comic strip that ran under various earlier titles (proposed as The Great Gusto, published as Big Chief Wahoo, then Chief Wahoo and Steve Roper, Steve Roper and Wahoo, and then Steve Roper) from November 1936 to December 26, 2004. Initially distributed by Publishers Syndicate (Publishers-Hall Syndicate), and then by Field Enterprises, it ended at King Features Syndicate. Despite the changes in title, characters, themes and authors, the entire 68-year run formed a single evolving story, from an Indian who teamed up with an adventurous young photojournalist to two longtime friends ready to retire after their long, eventful careers. The strip was originally proposed by Elmer Woggon as The Great Gusto, drawn by himself and written by Allen Saunders (who would also write Mary Worth and Kerry Drake), although contrary to some sources (e.g., Toonopedia) it never appeared under that title. J. Mortimer Gusto was a freeloading opportunist based on the film persona of W.C. Fields. In his autobiography, Saunders said Fields was flattered. But the syndicate preferred his sidekick Wahoo, so the proposal was revamped to center on him, and the strip debuted on November 23, 1936 as Big Chief Wahoo.

Mary Worth is a newspaper comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate, developed from an earlier Apple Mary strip by writer Allen Saunders and artist Dale Conner in 1939-40, under the pseudonym "Dale Allen". The strip reached its apex under Saunders and artist Ken Ernst. It was also published briefly by Harvey Comics as Love Stories of Mary Worth (1949-50). The title character, a former teacher and widow of a Wall Street tycoon (Jack Worth), formerly lived in New York and later moved to the Charterstone Condominium Complex in fictional Santa Royale, California. Originally titled Mary Worth's Family, its title was shortened in 1942, at which time Ernst succeeded Conner. Most reference sources state it was a continuation of the Depression-era strip Apple Mary, created by Martha Orr in 1932, centering on an old woman who sold apples on the street and offered humble common sense. King Features denies that Mary Worth was a continuation of the earlier strip, disregarding Saunders' own detailed account in his interviews (1971) and autobiography (1983-86) of how he was given Apple Mary in 1939 and developed it into Mary Worth with stories he thought women would enjoy more.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

These days, dog and pony show means an elaborate briefing or visual presentation, usually for promotional purposes. Writers in recent decades have applied dog and pony show pejoratively to military briefings, political speeches and photo opportunities as well as to sales pitches. To find the origin, we have to go back to the small towns of the middle west of the USA at the end of the nineteenth century. From the 1880s, reports start to appear in local newspapers of the arrival by rail of small travelling troupes of performers billed without any hint of sarcasm as “dog and pony shows”. The earliest example I know of: The dog and pony show of Prof. Morris drew big houses at the matinee and at the evening performance yesterday. All who went, old and young, seemed delighted. Omaha Daily Bee (Nebraska), 23 Sep. 1885. The most famous was that run by “Professor” Gentry (actually four brothers), but many others existed, including those of Sipe & Dolman, the Harper Brothers, Stull & Miller, and the Norris Brothers. They were in truth small circuses, many of them running on a shoestring, with no more than a band and a ringmaster in addition to the animal acts, which did consist only of dogs and ponies. The Gentry operation was bigger than its rivals and around 1894 it had some 40 ponies and 80 dogs in each of two troupes (later it would grow into a full-scale circus).

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Practice is the best of all instructions.
Aristotle (384 B.C.-322 B.C.) Greek philosopher

The original Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was built in 1890 and burned down by accident in 1919. To replace the original wooden structure, the owners commissioned a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. The second Imperial Hotel, built from 1915-1923, would be the best-known of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings in Japan. It was designed roughly in the shape of its own logo, with the guest room wings forming the letter "H", while the public rooms were in a smaller but taller central wing shaped like the letter "I" that cut through the middle of the "H". The structure famously survived the magnitude 8.3 Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. In reality, the building had damage; the central section slumped, several floors bulged, and four pieces of stonework fell to the ground. The building's main failing was its foundation. Wright had intended the hotel to float on the site's alluvial mud "as a battleship floats on water." This was accomplished by making it shallow, with broad footings. This was supposed to allow the building to float during an earthquake. However, the foundation was an inadequate support and did nothing to prevent the building from sinking into the mud to such an extent that it had to be demolished decades later. Furthermore, alluvial mud, such as that at the hotel's s ite, amplifies seismic waves. The hotel survived an earlier earthquake that struck Tokyo during its construction. While many buildings in the area were destroyed, the hotel itself — while shaken — stood completely undamaged. The hotel came through World War II unscathed, despite the devastating bombings of Tokyo by the Americans. It was commandeered for a period by the Occupation forces and managed by the US Government, before being returned to its owners. As the guest wings of the Wright building were only three stories tall, it actually had relatively few guest rooms, and so a new tower wing was constructed directly behind Wright's building in the 1950s. The hotel eventually slipped into decay as time took its toll. In a controversial decision, it was decided to demolish the old hotel and replace it with a high-rise structure, to maximize the use of land. While most of Wright's building was destroyed, the iconic central lobby wing and the reflecting pool were disassembled and rebuilt at The Museum Meiji Mura, a collection of buildings (mostly from the Meiji Era) in Inuyama, near Nagoya, where they are open to the public. See more plus pictures at:,_Tokyo

Cross the Rubicon or Pass the Rubicon: to commit oneself irrevocably to some course of action The Rubicon is a river in northern Italy that Julius Caesar crossed with his army, in violation of the orders of the leaders in Rome, who feared his power. A civil war followed, in which Caesar emerged as ruler of Rome. Caesar is supposed to have said, “The die is cast” (referring to a roll of dice), as he crossed the river. The name is from L. rubicundus "ruddy," in ref. to the color of the soil on its banks.

A tsunami is a series of waves generated when a body of water, such as a lake or ocean is rapidly displaced on a massive scale. Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and large meteorite impacts all have the potential to generate a tsunami. The effects of a tsunami can range from unnoticeable to devastating. The word "tsunami" is Japanese for "harbor wave", because tsunamis cause little or no visible effect in deep sea, and often Japanese fishermen would be out at sea fishing in deep sea when a tsunami came, and in the evening they came home and found their home village devastated by the tsunami, and thus they theorized that tsunamis only happen in harbors and elsewhere close inshore. Although in Japanese tsunami is used for both the singular and plural, in English tsunamis is well-established as the plural. The term was created by fishermen although they had not been aware of any wave in the open water. A tsunami is not a sub-surface event in the deep ocean; it simply has a much smaller amplitude (wave heights) offshore, and a very long wavelength (often hundreds of kilometres long), which is why they generally pass unnoticed at sea, forming only a passing "hump" in the ocean.

The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami March 11 appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis. Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Answer to What food is it? Yuzu is a bumpy yellow-green Japanese citrus fruit that has a thick rind and is full of seeds. The juice from a yuzu fruit is commercially extracted and available in gourmet shops and Japanese markets across the U.S. Yuzu juice is used in traditional Japanese cooking, as well as in traditional American cuisine. Its intense citrus taste is an exotic substitute for recipes that call for lemons, limes or oranges.
First correct responder in Savannah only took a matter of minutes, followed closely by a correct answer from a Toledo muse reader.

Dozens of nuclear reactors operate in earthquake-prone regions around the world, including at least 14 in high-hazard areas, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. The Wall Street Journal looked at the location of more than 400 nuclear reactors across the world—as well as another 100 that are either planned or being built—using data provided by the World Nuclear Association, a London-based industry group. The Journal then used data from the Global Seismic Hazard Program, a 1999 study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Swiss Seismological Service, to determine the earthquake risk at each plant. According to the analysis, 48 of the world's operating nuclear reactors, or 11%, are in areas known to have at least moderate earthquake activity. These include the Fukushima Daiichi reactors at the center of Japan's nuclear crisis. Fourteen, or 3%, are in areas of high activity. Ten of those are located within a mile of a coastline, making them at risk for both earthquakes and tsunamis. Japan and Taiwan together account for 10 of the 14 high-activity reactors. But the U.S. has two reactors in such areas and Slovenia and Armenia has one each. Armenia has another planned.

Baseball managers wear the same uniforms as the players, including form-fitting pants that are awfully similar to skinny jeans. NBA coaches wear conservative suits to adhere to the league's dress code. Football coaches are often sartorially limited by the threat of frostbite. But in college basketball, the coaches have been given a gift that is at once wonderful and terrifying: The freedom to wear anything they want. The result is that basketball games, including those in the NCAA men's tournament have become a runway show of sorts—if runway models were ever allowed to dress themselves. Experts say the one look that never fails is the form-fitting dark suit. A coach prone to prolific sweating should invest in a lightweight jacket designed for summer. And instead of a pastel coat, why not a blazer with a university crest? As for the NCAA tournament, coaches of top-seeded schools generally aim for understated class. See more on impact of fashions at games at:

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in the U.S. The war began in April 1861. Find links to quizzes, 150th Civil War Anniversary Websites of various states and National Park Service, This Day in the Civil War, Upcoming Events, maps and more at: Ohio's four-year commemoration, Civil War 150, starts Sunday, April 10, with two events at the Statehouse in downtown Columbus.

Sesqui: (one and a half; normally used as a prefix; from Latin, semis “half” + que “and”)
sesquicentennial, sesquicentenary
A period of 150 years or occurring every 150 years; relating to or happening after a period of 150 years.
Having the ratio of two and a half to one, or of five to two.
Find three pages of words using sesqui at:

Launched by the World Wildlife Fund in 2008, inspired by efforts already underway in Australia, Earth Hour asks every individual, business and community in the world to turn off non-essential lights for 60 minutes. And with this year's Earth Hour scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at 8:30 p.m., millions are preparing to continue this annual tradition as a symbol of hope for the planet, and a demonstration of solidarity in a battle against climate change. WWF experts agree Earth Hour is not just about reducing energy use for one hour a year, which wouldn't accomplish much when it comes to the biggest environmental threat to our planet. "If all we do is turn off our lights for an hour, it is a waste," said Josh Laughren, climate and energy program director for WWF Canada. The whole point of the exercise, Laughren said, is to illuminate public awareness about climate change and about how we use and produce energy. It's a reminder for the public to stand up for and speak out about the issue, to take action and to celebrate what can be achieved.

Friday, March 18, 2011

That the Moon appears much larger when viewed near the horizon was described thousands of years ago in early Greek and Chinese writings, and appears in Aristotle’s writings around 350 B.C.E. The illusion applies to the Sun, Moon, constellations and any celestial phenomenon that can be viewed low in the sky. Although many people assume that the phenomenon has something to do with the Earth’s atmosphere, in reality the refraction of light by the atmosphere acts to make the Moon appear slightly smaller and flatter near the horizon—not larger. Various activities provide evidence that the illusion has to do with the way in which our brain processes visual information. For example, if you bend over and look between your legs at the Moon — or if you lie on your side, or if you close one eye — you can reduce or eliminate the illusion.
The moon illusion
Moon illusion explained

Americans hold diverse views, both positive and negative, about the internet’s impact on the political debate.
54% of online adults say that the internet makes it easier to connect with others who share their views politically: 44% say that the internet makes this “a lot easier” and 10% say that the internet makes this “a little easier.” The internet users who get news or take part in politically-related activities on social networking sites are especially likely to say that the internet helps them connect with others around political issues.
At the same time, 55% of all internet users feel that the internet increases the influence of those with extreme political views, compared with 30% who say that the internet reduces the influence of those with extreme views by giving ordinary citizens a chance to be heard.
61% of online adults agree with the statement that the internet exposes people to a wider range of political views than they can get in the traditional news media. Young adults and political social networkers are more likely than average to view the internet as a source of information they can’t find elsewhere.
At the same time, 56% of internet users say that it is usually difficult for them to tell what is true from what is not true when it comes to the political information they find online. Read 39-page report from Pew Internet & American Life Project at:

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Federal Trade Commission discussed its efforts to protect consumer privacy through enforcement actions, consumer education, and policy initiatives like the FTC staff’s recent preliminary privacy report. The report proposes a framework to balance consumer privacy with industry innovation by: 1) building privacy protections into everyday business practices (“privacy-by-design”); 2) simplifying privacy choices for consumers; and 3)improving transparency with clearer, shorter privacy notices. The Commission told Congress that industry stakeholders have made important progress in implementing Do Not Track, a mechanism proposed in the staff's preliminary privacy report last December that would allow consumers to choose not to have their Internet browsing tracked by third parties. The testimony noted that two of the major Internet browsers – Microsoft and Mozilla – “have recently announced the development of new choice mechanisms for online behavioral advertising that seek to provide increased transparency, greater consumer control, and improved ease of use.”

401(K) PLANS: Issues Involving Securities Lending in Plan Investments GAO-11-359T testimony before the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate

Informatics includes the sciences concerned with gathering, manipulating, storing, retrieving, and classifying recorded information.

Informationist Derived from the word information. Informationist and informationism are first known to have arisen in the work of a group of Scottish poets in the 1994 book Contraflow on the SuperHighway. Since then use of the term has become progressively greater. One who gathers, analyzes, interprets and uses information. This can be used as a job title.

The Informationist is a debut novel by Taylor Stevens

What food is it? This citrus fruit originated in China but is associated with Japan. The fruit's name has four letters, two of which are u. Answer is forthcoming.

Free legal news
ABA Journal
BLT: The Blog of Legal Times

Thursday, March 17, 2011

vice versa
The reverse of the previous statement, with the main items transposed. Vice versa originates as Latin, with the literal translation being 'the other way round' or 'the position being reversed', but is now fully absorbed into English. The phrase is usually used to imply the complement of a statement without expressing as much in words. For example: "Fish can't live where we are most comfortable, and vice versa". It is often misspelt as visa versa.

KUMATO® is a registered trademark of the SYNGENTA Group designating fresh tomatoes. Only SYNGENTA and its authorized resellers and licensees may use the KUMATO® trademark in advertising, promotional, and sales materials. The brand KUMATO® designates tomato fruits grown from hybrid tomato plants varieties SX387 and/or OLMECA that are protected by Community Plant Variety Rights.

A system for the protection of plant variety rights has been established by European Community legislation. The system allows intellectual property rights, valid throughout the Community, to be granted for plant varieties. The Community plant variety right (CPVR) is a form of intellectual property akin to a patent.
The system is based on the four underlying Regulations:
Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights
Commission Regulation (EC)N° 874/2009 of 17 September 2009 establishing implementing rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 as regards proceedings before the Community Plant Variety Office;
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1238/95 of 31 May 1995 establishing implementing rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 as regards the fees payable to the Community Plant Variety Office, as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) N° 572/2008 of 19 June 2008, as regards the level of the annual fee and the fees relating to technical examination, payable to the Community Plant Variety Office, and the manner of payment.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1768/95 of 24 July 1995 implementing rules on the agricultural exemption provided for in Article 14 (3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 on Community plant variety rights, as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) N° 2605/98 of 3 December 1998 .

In the U.S. and Canada, Kumato tomatoes are distributed by Mastronardi Produce, which has the Sunset line of tomatoes. Mastronadri is growing these in huge greenhouses in Ontario. It is unclear if distribution is regional or national. A California company, Dulcinea, is also selling a black tomato that it calls "Rosso Bruno," and this may be the same tomato. Syngentia is only releasing the seed to commercial growers as happened with the "Santa" "Grape Tomato" previously.

Tips for creating a secure password: Don't use anything easily guessed, such as a pet's name. Come up with a core password and modify by adding different prefixes or suffixes. Then test the strength of your password at: I put in a password I use and got a rating of 50%, good. When I changed the numerals to symbols, the same keys produced 64%, strong. A table of additions and deductions shows how the percentage is calculated. For instance, consecutive letters or numerals cause a deduction.
The Week magazine March 11, 2011

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history. His contributions to art came in a period that historians call the Dutch Golden Age. "Rembrandt" is a modification of the spelling of the artist's first name that he introduced in 1633. Roughly speaking, his earliest signatures (ca. 1625) consisted of an initial "R", or the monogram "RH" (for Rembrant Harmenszoon; i.e. "Rembrant, the son of Harmen"), and starting in 1629, "RHL" (the "L" stood, presumably, for Leiden). In 1632, he used this monogram early in the year, then added his patronymic to it, "RHL-van Rijn", but replaced this form in that same year and began using his first name alone with its original spelling, "Rembrant". In 1633 he added a "d", and maintained this form consistently from then on, proving that this minor change had a meaning for him (whatever it might have been). In 1968 the Rembrandt Research Project was started under the sponsorship of the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research; it was initially expected to last a highly optimistic ten years. Art historians teamed up with experts from other fields to reassess the authenticity of works attributed to Rembrandt, using all methods available, including state-of-the-art technical diagnostics, and to compile a complete new catalogue raisonné of his paintings. As a result of their findings, many paintings that were previously attributed to Rembrandt have been removed from their list, although others have been added back. Many of those removed are now thought to be the work of his students. One example of activity is The Polish Rider, in New York's Frick Collection. Its authenticity had been questioned years before by several scholars, led by Julius Held. Many, including Dr. Josua Bruyn of the Foundation Rembrandt Research Project, attributed the painting to one of Rembrandt's closest and most talented pupils, Willem Drost, about whom little is known. The Frick itself never changed its own attribution, the label still reading "Rembrandt" and not "attributed to" or "school of". More recent opinion has shifted in favor of the Frick, with Simon Schama in his 1999 book Rembrandt's Eyes, and a Rembrandt Project scholar, Ernst van de Wetering (Melbourne Symposium, 1997) both arguing for attribution to the master. Many scholars feel that the execution is uneven, and favour different attributions for different parts of the work. Another painting, Pilate Washing His Hands, is also of questionable attribution. Critical opinion of this picture has varied since 1905, when Wilhelm von Bode described it as "a somewhat abnormal work" by Rembrandt. Scholars have since dated the painting to the 1660s and assigned it to an anonymous pupil, possibly Arent de Gelder. The composition bears superficial resemblance to mature works by Rembrandt but lacks the master's command of illumination and modeling. The attribution and re-attribution work is ongoing. In 2005 four oil paintings previously attributed to Rembrandt's students were reclassified as the work of Rembrandt himself: Study of an Old Man in Profile and Study of an Old Man with a Beard from a US private collection, Study of a Weeping Woman, owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet, painted in 1640.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Words derived from animals
cynic (SIN-ik) noun
1. One who believes people are motivated by self-interest only.
2. A person with a negative outlook, one disposed to find fault.
From Latin cynicus, from Greek kynikos (like a dog), from kyon (dog). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kwon- (dog), which is also the source of canine, chenille (from French chenille: caterpillar, literally, little dog), kennel, canary, hound, dachshund, corgi, and cynosure. Earliest documented use: 1547.
aegis or egis (EE-jis) noun
Protection, support, guidance, or sponsorship of a particular person or organization.
From Latin aegis, from Greek aigis (goatskin), from aix (goat). Aigis was the name of the shield or breastplate of Zeus or Athena in Greek mythology. It was made of goatskin. Earliest documented use: 1704.
pedigree (PED-i-gree) noun
1. Lineage or ancestry.
2. A distinguished ancestry.
3. The origin or history of a person or thing.
From Anglo-Norman pé de grue (crane's foot), from p´ (foot) + de (of) + grue (crane), from the resemblance of a crane's foot to the succession lines in a genealogical chart. Earliest documented use: 1425.
A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

YouTube has partnered with U. of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and Columbia College of Chicago to launch YouTube Creator Institute Programs. The programs, which are accepting applications at through March 25, are designed to help college-age students develop digital media skills through special courses to be offered in Los Angeles and Chicago later this year. YouTube users will vote on the submissions and help determine the 20 students who will be accepted into the programs. The application involves students answering a series of questions and submitting a two-minute demonstration of their work. Online voting on the submissions will begin March 28 to determine the first round of candidates. From there, USC and Columbia College faculty members will determine the final 20 winners, to be announced April 20.

Eudora Welty quotes
"It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves--like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them--with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them . . . "

"Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole."

"There is absolutely everything in great fiction but a clear answer."

Eudora Alice Welty (1909-2001) the oldest of her family's three children and the only girl, was born in Jackson, Mississippi. That neither of her parents came from the Deep South may have given her some detachment from her culture and helped her become a careful observer of its manners. Welty's education in the Jackson schools was followed by two years at Mississippi State College for Women between 1925 and 1927, and then by two more years at the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor of arts degree in 1929. Her father, who believed that she could never earn a living by writing stories, encouraged her to study advertising at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City during 1930 and 1931. Welty returned to Jackson in 1931 after her father's death and worked as a part-time journalist, copywriter, and photographer for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was aimed at providing jobs for writers. The latter job took her on assignments throughout Mississippi, and she began using these experiences as material for short stories. In June 1936, her story "Death of a Traveling Salesman" was accepted for publication.

A seventh anniversary is called septennial--its time period is called septennium or septennary. A seventeenth anniversary is called septendecennial--its time periods is called septendecennium or septendecenniary.
Find anniversaries and time periods from 1 to 10,000 at:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (1881-1975), called Plum by most of his family and friends, was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers such as Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and Terry Pratchett. The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, given annually for the finest example of comic writing in the UK, was established and named in his honour in 2000. Although Wodehouse and his novels are considered quintessentially English, from 1914 onward he split his time between England and the United States. In 1934, he took up residence in France, to avoid double taxation on his earnings by the tax authorities in Britain and the U.S. He was also profoundly uninterested in politics and world affairs. When World War II broke out in 1939 he remained at his seaside home in Le Touquet, France, instead of returning to England, apparently failing to recognise the seriousness of the conflict. Subsequently, the German military authorities in occupied France, interned him with several other Englishmen in the same condition, as an "enemy alien" according to the definition of such by the Geneva Convention, first in Belgium, then at Tost- now Toszek- in Upper Silesia -now in Poland. Of the latter, he is recorded as having said, "If this is Upper Silesia, one wonders what Lower Silesia must be like..." While at Tost, he entertained his fellow prisoners with witty dialogues. He was released from internment because of having reached the limit of age (60 years) stated by the mentioned Convention of Geneva (Wodehouse's version) or because of a deal with the German Ministry of Propaganda. He then proceeded to broadcast through the German radio services and with the full cooperation of the German propaganda services several humoristic autobiographical commentaries as a basis for a series of radio broadcasts aimed at America (then not at war with Germany). When the text of his commentaries was published in England many years later, several short sentences of the commentaries had been suppressed, probably by Wodehouse himself, for showing him being relatively friendly to the German military men when they arrived at Le Touquet. Wodehouse believed he would be admired as showing himself to have "kept a stiff upper lip" during his internment. Some libraries banned his books. Foremost among his critics was A. A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh books; Wodehouse took revenge in a short story parody, Rodney Has a Relapse (1949), in which a character based on Milne writes about his son, a ridiculous character named "Timothy Bobbin". See lists of characters, plots and adaptations at:

A Celebration of P.G. Wodehouse

E-mail precautions I delete notices from companies I don't deal with, things that say "you asked for this" or something similar, and e-mails with no subject line. Even if I know the person sending the e-mail with no subject line, it could be that someone (Nigeria scammer, for instance) has taken over their mailing list. It slows you down when you're opening mail, but it's worth it.

Q: How do bells fit into a U.S. Navy ship's operations?
A: Bells have a long tradition at sea, starting with the British in the late 1400s. Signaling, keeping time, and sounding alarms are important in any ship's routine and readiness. Time at sea was once measured by the trickle of sand through a half-hour glass. One of the ship's boys was ordered to watch the glass and turn it. When he turned the glass, he struck the bell to show he had performed his duty. Thus the tradition began of striking the bell once at the end of the first half hour of a four-hour watch, twice after the first hour, etc., until eight bells marked the end of the watch. The process is repeated for the succeeding watches. Sounding the bell on the hour and half hour still has its place in the nuclear- and missile-oriented Navy, regulating daily routine just as it did on vessels under sail. U.S. Navy.
Q: How did Samuel Clemens decide to use the pen name "Mark Twain"?
A: In "Life on the Mississippi," Twain wrote: "I was a fresh new journalist, and needed a nom de guerre; so I confiscated the ancient mariner's discarded one, and have done my best to make it remain what it was in his hands -- a sign and symbol and warrant that whatever is found in its company may be gambled on as being the petrified truth; how I have succeeded, it would not be modest in me to say.",2011,Mar,14&c=c_13

"Half twain! Quarter twain! M-a-r-k twain!" For most people, the name "Mark Twain" is virtually synonymous with the life along the Mississippi River immortalized in the author's writing. Clemens first signed his writing with the name in February 1863, as a newspaper reporter in Nevada. "Mark Twain" (meaning "Mark number two") was a Mississippi River term: the second mark on the line that measured depth signified two fathoms, or twelve feet—safe depth for the steamboat.

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From: Eva-Maria von Hauff Subject: sitzfleisch A sitzfleischorden is a promotion or decoration someone receives not because of personal merit but due to seniority.
From: Edith Slembek Subject: sitzfleisch A very common understanding in Germany is: you have guests and politeness wants that the guest has to decide when he wants to leave. Sometimes there are guests who stay and stay, you want to go to bed but guest sits and sits, we say 'He has sitzfleisch.'
From: BranShea Subject: sitzfleisch Germans are clever with word glue. Besides Sitzfleisch they also have the word Fleischersatz, meaning the whole magic world of tempe, tofu, breadcrumbs, mashed beans, and Analogkäse.
From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr Subject: ersatz During WWII in occupied Europe everything became ersatz. There were ersatz ladies' stockings, ersatz butter, but mostly ersatz coffee (basically malt). When my mother Frieda and I went into hiding (for 27 months), we took along a small test tube filled with about a dozen real coffee beans and settled to drinking ersatz coffee until the liberation in 1944. Mother had saved the dozen coffee beans to offer a real cup of coffee to our eventual liberators. When I talk to groups about our diet of herring, turnips, black bread, and ersatz coffee, I am always greeted with puzzled looks from the audience. It had never occurred to me that this was a word not known in the USA. Thank you for resuscitating Ersatz. Incidentally, we were liberated by the British and they drank tea!

A new paper by James M. Donovan from the University of Kentucky College of Law caught much attention recently. The paper is self-archived and it examines the citation trend of open access articles from three different law journals. The opening sentence from the abstract sounds very powerful: “Open access legal scholarship – which today appears to account for almost half of the output of law faculties – can expect to receive 50% more citations than non-open access writings of similar age from the same venue.” The introduction to research is done with the mention of Harvard, ranked number one among world universities according to Times Higher Education, as the first law school to make an institutional commitment to open access. Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, which calls for all law schools to stop publishing their journals in print format and to rely instead on electronic publication coupled with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats, is also described as a strong argument for open access gaining ground with law librarians who are also facing crisis due to increasing prices of journal subscriptions. “The AALL’s Price Index for Legal Publications… reports a 42% increase in costs for all periodicals (both law-school subsidized and commercial) from 2005-2009, with the average price jumping from $155 to $222.” Thanks, Julie.

Monday, March 14, 2011 is trying to counter a new law aimed at forcing online retailers to collect sales taxes in the state. Hawaii, North Carolina and Rhode Island have enacted similar laws, and California is weighing action. Amazon is also in a court battle with New York over such legislation. The Illinois law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn March 10, requires online retailers that work with affiliates in the state to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Illinois residents and businesses. Amazon responded to the measure by cutting ties to its Illinois-based affiliates, which are blogs and other websites that refer traffic to Amazon's website and get paid commissions if customers make purchases there. A 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that retailers have to collect sales taxes in a state only if they have a substantial physical "nexus" there. The new Illinois law established marketing affiliates as nexuses. Amazon has referred to these affiliates as "advertisers." Amazon's stance against collecting sales tax has drawn the ire of brick-and-mortar retailers, who complain the company has an unfair business advantage over rivals that collect sales taxes. Meanwhile, lawmakers have become more determined to make the online giant collect taxes to help address budget shortfalls that have become big problems for many states.

Charlie Sheen, just days after being fired from CBS' "Two and a Half Men," has fired back with a $100-million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre, the studio and executive producer behind the show. The suit, filed March 10 in Santa Monica Superior Court, charges that Sheen was only fired from the show because he had recently criticized Lorre both on radio and television. Warner Bros., in a letter to Sheen's attorney Martin Singer, had said Sheen was fired because he had become a liability on the show and his erratic off-stage life had started to affect his ability to perform. See copy of suit at: The suit also says it is pursuing claims for the benefit of the entire cast , crew and actors to be paid for the rest of the current TV season.

March 14, 2011 marks the septendecennial of On this day, 17 years ago, Anu Garg started what turned into To celebrate, this week features words that are 17 letters long.
predestinarianism (pri-des-tuh-NAR-ee-uh-niz-uhm) noun
Belief in the doctrine of predestination, that the divine will has predetermined the course of events, people's fate, etc. From Latin praedestination, from prae- (before) + destinare (to determine), from stare (to stand). Earliest documented use: 1722. "I have reacquainted myself with the old taste of Scottish predestinarianism. Y'know, damned or saved; nothing to do with free will or good works."
Alexander Linklater; The Tale of the Three Alcoholics; The Guardian (London, UK); Nov 11, 2006.

In the past few months, online clubs with such names as and have proliferated. The sites, some of which have gathered thousands of users, allow strangers to borrow and lend e-books for Inc.'s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.'s Nook free. The sites are the latest twist in the industry of e-books, which has disrupted the traditional book-publishing industry and changed that business's economics. Public libraries can't lend e-books in the Kindle format, though they can for other e-reading devices. The lending sites have drawbacks. One is limited selection. Most major book publishers haven't made their e-books lendable, and the books can be lent only once and for only 14 days. That means that with every successful loan, the sites' available library shrinks unless new users with books to lend join. BookLending and Lendle users can swap only Kindle titles, while eBook Fling will allow Kindle and Nook borrowing. All three lending sites are free to users. But if books aren't available for borrowing, the sites refer users to Amazon, and they make a commission if users buy a book there. The three sites offer incentives for users to make their books available for lending. Lendle requires users to make at least one book available for loan before starting to borrow, and the site has an algorithm that improves users' chances of getting a book they want if they lend frequently. BookLending has a similar algorithm, though it has no requirement to make books available for loan first.

In a recent assessment, the value of Lake Erie and its tributaries, with respect to sport fishing and related commerce, was estimated to exceed $850 million annually. The study unit contains about 300 public recreational areas and about 90,000 acres of inland waters for public use. Lake Erie supports the largest freshwater fishery in the Great Lakes (an estimated 50-60 million pounds of fish are caught per year) and is widely considered to be the best walleye fishery in the world. Lakes Erie and St. Clair and the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are vital shipping links that connect the upper Great Lakes to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports on March 7 announced a new partnership to educate parents, teachers, and teens about the dangers of distracted driving. Consumer Reports released the results of a new poll that shows younger drivers are more likely to use handheld devices while driving--and less likely to view them as a danger. The free brochure “Distracted Driving Shatters Lives” produced by DOT and CR recommends six steps for parents:
• Set a good example by putting down your phone while driving.
• Talk to your teen about the risks and responsibilities of driving and the danger of dividing their attention between a cell phone and the road.
• Establish ground rules for not texting or talking on a handheld device while behind the wheel.
• Have your child sign a pledge to not use a cell phone while driving, agreeing on penalties for violating the pledge.
• Educate yourself about the problem at and
• Spread the word by communicating with friends and family.

The tallest luxury residential tower in New York City's history, by Frank Gehry, nears completion: the finest skyscraper to rise in New York since Eero Saarinen’s CBS building went up 46 years ago. And like that tower, and Philip Johnson’s AT&T (now Sony) building after it, 8 Spruce Street seems to crystallize a particular moment in cultural history, in this case the turning point from the modern to the digital age. The tower, 76 stories high and clad in a rumpled stainless-steel skin, stands at the northern edge of the financial district on a tight lot hemmed in by one-way streets. The Pace University building, a wide, Brutalist-style structure completed in 1970, cuts it off from the rest of the city to the north; just beyond are the spaghettilike access ramps of the Brooklyn Bridge. The building’s exterior is made up of 10,500 individual steel panels, almost all of them different shapes, so that as you move around it, its shape is constantly changing. And by using the same kind of computer modeling that he used for his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, more than a decade ago, he was able to achieve this quality at a close to negligible increase in cost. See images at:

The Pentagon was built in "stripped classical" style, a variation of Greek and Roman classicism popular in the middle of the 20th century and often used for government buildings. On January 15, 1943, just 16 months after construction began, the Pentagon was completed. In April, occupants began moving in. Including outside facilities, the project cost about $83,000,000. Since five roads surrounded the site, builders chose a five-sided building, which is how the Pentagon got its name. The building consists of five concentric rings connected by ten corridors that run, like spokes, from the inner ring to the outer. Interior courtyards that provide light separate the rings. The corridors are a total of 17.5 miles long, while the building provides a gross floor area of 6,500,000 square feet. There are 3,800,000 square feet for offices, concessions, and storage. The five-sided center courtyard covers five acres.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Data-gathering firms and technology companies are aggressively matching people's TV-viewing behavior with other personal data—in some cases, prescription-drug records obtained from insurers—and using it to help advertisers buy ads targeted to shows watched by certain kinds of people. At the same time, cable and satellite companies are testing and deploying new systems designed to show households highly targeted ads. In an early test of Cablevision's technology, the U.S. Army used it to target four different recruitment ads to different categories of viewers. In one method, TV providers such as Cablevision can beam different ads to different set-top boxes, even when they're tuned to the same channel. A second method for targeting ads works differently. Companies including TRA Inc., Rentrak Corp. and WPP PLC's Kantar Media, along with tech titan Microsoft Corp., are taking data on TV-viewing behavior harvested from set-top boxes and matching it with a broad array of household data. Then they, and other tech firms including Google Inc., help advertisers buy ads targeted to shows watched by certain types of people. by Suzanne Vranica

We're drawing ever-closer to the Philip K. Dickian dystopia paradise in which all advertising is personalized according to the purchasing power of each individual consumer. (That means YOU, Kevin Spacey fan and likely Casino Jack ticket-buyer!) In a report on the booming taxi ad biz, the Times notes that people riding cabs through the East Village can now expect to see backseat TV ads for Blue Man Group, which performs on Lafayette Street. The theater troupe is just one of the advertisers "using the GPS devices in cabs to pinpoint when and where its commercials should play." They know where you are, and they're coming for you. The Times also finds that VeriFone Media Solutions, which handles advertising sales for 12,000 yellow cabs, is reporting revenue up 60 percent in the past year.

Laughter has no foreign accent. Paul Lowney
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die. Abraham Lincoln
You grow up the day you have your first real laugh — at yourself. Ethel Barrymore

gamut (GAM-uht) noun The complete range of something. [From Medieval Latin, contraction of gamma ut, from gamma (third letter of the Greek alphabet), used to represent the lowest tone + ut, from the names of the notes ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si (ut and si later changed to do and ti). Gamma + ut contracted to gamut and the meaning expanded to denote all notes.]

Answer to Who Am I Joyce Carol Oates has written fiction, essays, poetry, memoirs under her own name and novels under the pseudonyms of Lauren Kelly and Rosamond Smith. The search longhand awards 1968 2006 brings up the correct answer. A Tampa muse reader got it first, followed quickly by a Savannah reader.

Richard Wilbur was born on March 1, 1921 in New York City. Wilbur has also published numerous translations of French plays—specifically those of the 17th century French dramatists Molière and Jean Racine—as well as poetry by Valéry, Villon, Baudelaire, Akhmatova, Brodsky, and others. Wilbur is also the author of several books for children and a few collections of prose pieces, and has edited such books as Poems of Shakespeare (1966) and The Complete Poems of Poe (1959). Among his honors are the Wallace Stevens Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Frost Medal, the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Bollingen Prizes, the T. S. Eliot Award, a Ford Foundation Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award, the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, the National Arts Club medal of honor for literature, two PEN translation awards, the Prix de Rome Fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Award. He was elected a chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques and is a former Poet Laureate of the United States.

Almost all of Richard Wilbur's poems are metered, more than half are strictly rhymed, and most are less than a page. Mr. Wilbur, U.S. Poet Laureate in 1987-88, matured in the late 1940s, during the reign of New Criticism, an academic movement that favored poems capable of yielding multiple ambiguities after a rigorous analysis, and he has always written in its approved neoclassical style. The springy elegance of his mind, which serves to clarify the problems of life, not to muddle them with vatic obscurities, has brought him triple glory—as a poet, a translator (no one has captured Molière in English better than he) and a lyricist. Stephen Sondheim, not a critic easy to please, has declared Mr. Wilbur's words for "Candide," done in tandem with Leonard Bernstein's score, "the most scintillating set of songs yet written for the musical theater." His productivity, never high to begin with, has slowed with age. He finishes poems at the rate that Antonio Stradivari constructed a violin. "I often don't write more than a couple of lines in a day of, let's say, six hours of staring at the sheet of paper," he told the Paris Review in 1977. "Composition for me is, externally at least, scarcely distinguishable from catatonia." by Richard B. Woordward

Poems of Richard Wilbur

In the context of web archiving and digital preservation, one often hears that the average lifespan of a web page is forty-four days. This statistic has been repeated among those in the digital preservation community for years, but it never seems to be accompanied by a citation . In a 2002 article by Peter Lyman a footnote briefly explains why the source of this figure is so elusive: "These data sources were originally published on the Web, but are no longer available, illustrating the problem of Web archiving." Ironically, the very source of a statistic often used to support the cause of web preservation has itself become a victim of "link rot." Link rot refers to the loss or removal of content at a particular Uniform Resource Locator (URL) over time. In other words, when an attempt is made to open a documented link, either different or irrelevant information has replaced the expected content, or else the link is found to be broken, typically expressed by a 404 or "not found" error message. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Web-based materials often disappear as URLs change and web sites are changed, updated, or deleted. In 2007, the Georgetown Law Library and the state law libraries of Maryland and Virginia formed the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive to begin preserving these important web-published law- and policy-related materials. In the three years since the archive was launched, this law library collaborative has built a collection comprising more than 2300 titles and 5700 digital items and, all of which were originally posted to the web. by Sarah Rhodes Much more at:

For the next 10 weeks, prosecutors will battle Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam in courtroom 17B in lower Manhattan. But they will win or lose the insider-trading case in a nearby "war room." That is a nondescript conference room in the Manhattan federal courthouse, lined with boxes of evidence and a snack-strewn table, where three prosecutors will strategize, likely long into the night, preparing for the next day's hearing. Seventeen months after bringing charges in the largest insider-trading case in decades, the pressure is on the U.S. to prove its case against Mr. Rajaratnam. The trial of Mr. Rajaratnam got under way March 8 with the beginning of jury selection. Over the next day or so, the government and a defense team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP will assemble a 12-member jury to decide the fate of Mr. Rajaratnam, who could face more than 20 years in prison if he is convicted on all 14 charges of criminal securities fraud and conspiracy.

"We dedicate this page to short people, deceased and living, who overcame the obstacles society placed before them and became persons of distinction." A sortable list with biographies includes General Tom Thumb (1838-1883) at 2'9", Alexander Pope (1688-1744) at 4'6", Edith Piaf (1915-1963) at 4'8", Linda Hunt (b. 1945) at 4'9", Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) and Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) at 4'10" each, Kristin Chenoweth (b. 1970) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) at 4'11" each.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 At 2:00 AM local time, the clock is moved forward to 3:00 AM in the United States. In some locations, local time is moved back, and the date varies. See more at:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On March 8, Charlie Sheen launched another salvo in an online-video broadcast where he described the decision to fire him as "completely and entirely illegal," and attacked the executives involved as "nothing shy of traitors," among other personal insults. The outcome of the fight could come down to a legal decision about the actor's contract—and whether Warner Bros. can prove that his actions give them grounds to terminate it, some employment lawyers say. "It's going to be for a fact-finder to determine whether they had the ability to discharge him," said Barry Peek, an entertainment labor lawyer at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. A key question could be Mr. Sheen's performance on set, lawyers said. If Mr. Sheen's admitted partying behavior affected his ability to work, Warner Bros. could have cause to terminate his contract. In its March 7 letter to Mr. Sheen's lawyer, Warner Bros. said that it has filming outtakes that show "Mr. Sheen had difficulty remembering his lines and hitting his marks." "If they can establish it, that will be the case—whether he can perform his job," Mr. Stein said. There is also the question of Mr. Sheen's off-screen behavior. Mr. Sheen's attorney has said the star is not subject to a traditional "morals clause," which typically allows an employer to fire a star for embarrassing behavior. But Warner Bros., in its March 7 letter, quoted a section of Mr. Sheen's contract that offers a narrower standard: If producers believe the star has committed felonies involving "moral turpitude."

1876: Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone call in his Boston laboratory, summoning his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, from the next room. The Scottish-born Bell had a lifelong interest in the nature of sound. He was born into a family of speech instructors, and his mother and his wife both had hearing impairments. While ostensibly working in 1875 on a device to send multiple telegraph signals over the same wire by using harmonics, he heard a twang. That led him to investigate whether his electrical apparatus could be used to transmit the sound of a human voice. Bell’s journal, now at the Library of Congress, contains the following entry for March 10, 1876: I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: “Mr. Watson, come here — I want to see you.” To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said. I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, “You said ‘Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.’” We then changed places and I listened at S [the speaker] while Mr. Watson read a few passages from a book into the mouthpiece M. It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from S. The effect was loud but indistinct and muffled. Watson’s journal, however, says the famous quote was: “Mr. Watson come here I want you.” That disagreement, though, is trifling compared to the long controversy over whether Bell truly invented the telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, was working on a similar device, and recent books claim that Bell not only stole Gray’s ideas, but may even have bribed a patent inspector to let him sneak a look at Gray’s filing.

Leslie Valiant, professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has received the 2010 A.M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his contributions to the theory of computation, including the theory of probably approximately correct (PAC) learning, computational complexity and the theory of parallel and distributed computing. Often referred to as the Nobel prize in computing, the Turing award has, since its inception in 1966, honored computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.

Businesses including Sprint Nextel Corp. , Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel Inc. are sponsoring college classes and graduate-level research to get help with their online marketing from the young and hyperconnected. Sprint, for example, supplies a class at Boston's Emerson College with smartphones and unlimited service in exchange for students working gratis on the company's local Internet push. Universities, in some cases, receive funding or proprietary consumer data from companies for their research. Students get experience they can display on their résumés, and add lively classes to the usual mix of lectures and written exams. "We are helping students to go out and get hired," says Randy Hlavac, an instructor at Northwestern University's Medill School. "They've done the work." The partnerships are emerging as businesses are scurrying to bolster their ability to engage with their customers on the Web by using Facebook, Twitter and the like. Of course, some parents may be surprised to learn their tuition dollars are helping to underwrite corporate marketing in addition to their children's education. Sprint provided students in an online marketing class at Emerson College with 10 smartphones with unlimited wireless access. In exchange, students blogged, tweeted, produced YouTube videos and posted Facebook updates about the launch of Sprint's 4G network in Boston. "We're teaming up with the class again this semester it worked so well," says Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott.

AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Honeywell International Inc. recently ended a longstanding practice in which they "smooth" large gains and losses generated by pension assets into their financial results over a period of years. From now on, these companies will count all such gains and losses in the same year they are incurred. While the moves might seem like arcane accounting steps, they have important implications for investors. The companies say the changes will make their earnings reporting more transparent, but they also sweep away tens of billions in past pension losses the companies have yet to smooth into—and hurt—their results.

Miv Schaaf wrote the column "Things," which appeared in The Los Angeles Times' View section (now Life & Style) from 1972 to 1987. Her final column, published Oct. 4, 1987, offered a farewell to the house where she had raised a daughter, dogs and a garden, and where she had been widowed in 1984. She ended the column: "I wish you joy, and time to think." An advocate of historical preservation, she set up the Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission in 1973 and co-wrote the Pasadena Cultural Heritage Ordinance. Schaaf also worked to promote public libraries and was a frequent speaker at librarians' conferences. She earned awards from the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System and the California Library Assn. Her books reflected her interests in preservation and libraries--"Residential Architecture in Southern California" and "Who Can Not Read About Crocodiles," about the joys of reading.

Setting Sail in a Sea of Books by Miv Schaaf

Who Am I?
I write in longhand for about seven hours a day. The New York Times in 1989 wrote that my "name is synonymous with productivity." I write fiction and non-fiction, and received ten awards between 1968 and 2006. Answer is forthcoming.