Monthly Archives: March 2009

Think Big. At Big Think

I am a big fan of TED. If you are too, you might want to check out this site that I accidently came across tonight: Big Think. I was impressed by the number of big thinkers found there as well as the topics that they are discussing. Well worth looking around.

What fat lady? The best opera divas now are anything but

The Times online has an article on the best classical divas currently performing. Besides the analysis of what makes each singer noteworthy, there are also clips of some of them performing. It’s worth a look for opera fans (and non-fans too).

And who do they think is #1? Anna Netrebko (pictured here).

Want a great dashboard on the state of the economy?

Then you want to see this one from Russell Investments. It illustrates “a few key economic and market indicators to help assess the current economic health and trend”. And it illustrates it well, shockingly so. For example, this chart:

The blue range is “typical” and under 3.5%. As you can see, the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 is anything but typical.

There are some good indicators, including a number of 3 month trends that show things moving out of the extreme areas and back towards typical. Indeed, some metrics, like credit risk and consumer spending, are in the typical range. However, economic expansion is not only out of the typical range, but it is trending away from it.

I’d keep an eye of this dashboard.

How to run better? Try caffeine

The has a good analysis of whether or not caffeine can help your performance when you run. It turns out that it is very likely it does help, although not everyone is keen on its benefits, as the article explains.

If you are thinking about using caffeine during a race, try it out on training runs before you do. You may find that you don’t like the results. If you don’t, you want to discover this before your big race, not during.

Read the article: it does a good job of providing the details on the benefits of caffeine and running.

(photo by Flip Kwaitkowski for The New York Times)

Why should you read this People article?

Because it actually uses the word zaftig. Really. See Kim Kardashian: ‘So What! I Have Cellulite!’ – Bodywatch, Kim Kardashian :

Why I think Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is Awesome!

Michelle Bachmann has been taking heat from alot of bloggers I read for being stupid and asking idiotic questions. To that, I saw: pshaw! Personally, I think the woman is a genius. I think she is creating political drama of the highest calibre.

One thing I used to love about watching great British drama with superb actors like Helen Mirren was how they would subtly convey what thoughts and emotions they experienced with small facial changes or shifts in their body even while they were saying banal things or nothing at all. Well, Congresswoman Bachmann gets that same effect with the questions she asks! Seriously, watch the expressions of the Treasury Secretary or the head of the Fed while they are being questioned by her. You can just hear the wheels turning in their heads while they try to answer her inane questions. And yet, her questions may not even be inane, but “dog whistle” comments for wingnuts watching this. Like I said, drama of the highest calibre. For proof, go see:

As Ta-Nehesi Coates might say: awesome sauce! (Ok, he thinks she is an idiot, but anyway…. :))

Obama is changing the rules. Again.

There’s been alot of commentary this week about President Obama and whether or not he is appearing too much in public. One example of this can be seen in this article.

What I believe is happening is that Obama is changing the rules with regards to how the President interacts with the citizens of the U.S. He did this as a candidate for the job, and he is carrying this through now that he is President.

Some have commented that he is continually campaigning. But this assumes you must act one way running for office and a different way afterwards. Obama is challenging that assumption.

Likewise, some media commentators are taken aback at Obama’s use of new media and alternative media to communicate his message. Again the assumption is, once you get in office, you use traditional means to communicate your message. Obama is challenging that assumption, too.

Lastly, Obama is challenging the way people expect him to behave, by frankly, being himself. Why this is a surprise to anyone is a mystery to me. Many people voted for him because they liked him. He’d be crazy to shove that aside. People may eventually turn away from him for all sorts of reasons, but it’s not likely because they don’t like the man from what they know about him.

I believe that if you want to be a successful president, you have to be very comfortable in your own skin. George W. Bush was this way, as was Clinton and Reagan. Obama is as comfortable as it gets. And what he is going to be very comfortable doing is redefining what it means to be the leader of the U.S. Expect interesting times.