Saturday, 17 March 2012
INTERESTING STUFF – 17 March 2012
HILLARY ON WOMEN'S RIGHTS
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a fine speech on women's rights worldwide last week at end of the Women in the World conference in New York and you can see the entire 30 minutes here – it is well worth your time.
As chief foreign officer of the U.S., Ms. Clinton usually keeps a careful distance from commenting on domestic politics but this short clip from her speech, given at the height of the commotion over politicians' continuing attacks on women's rights in the U.S., was a terrific moment:
MERYL STREEP INTRODUCING HILLARY CLINTON
We don't hear too much about what Secretary Clinton is doing. Her kind of work is not the sort that does nor should end up in the press. So it was good to hear actor Meryl Streep's exceptionally good introduction - tribute, really - to Ms. Clinton at the Women of the World conference.
Yes, I know. It's 14 minutes long but if you've got the time, I think you will enjoy it.
ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA SHUTS DOWN AFTER 244 YEARS
We are living through disruptive times and now, the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica has announced that the 2010 print edition is its last:
“'It’s a rite of passage in this new era,' Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a company based in Chicago, said in an interview. 'Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.'”
Only 4,000 copies of the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs in at 129 pounds, have been sold at $1,395. The encyclopedia will continue to be published and updated online where subscriptions cost $70 per year. You can read more here.
KEROUAC'S ON THE ROAD
During my beatnik period in the late-1950s, Jack Kerouacs' On the Road was required reading. Since then, in one list, the book is ranked at 55 on the 100 best books of the 20th century and it is a touchstone for the beatnik era.
Although there have been many attempts during the past half century to make a movie of the book, it has never been done – until now. With Frances Ford Coppolla as executive producer, On the Road at last has been filmed. It will be released later this year. Here is the trailer:
It's a dangerous thing to translate an iconic book to the screen especially when many who are of the cultural period are still alive. It seems to me that they are bound to get it wrong. Or maybe not.
ULYSSES S. GRANT AND AMERICAN JEWS
Did you know this? That during the U.S. Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant issued Order No. 11 expelling all “Jews as a class” from his war zone? I surely did not know this. Here is a short video from Jonathan Sarna explaining the incident and Grant's later repudiation of his order:
Jonathan Sarna is a professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. His book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, resurrects this historical event from obscurity. And, you can watch an hour-long lecture on the subject that Professor gave at Columbia University last fall.
GOLDMAN SACHS EXECUTIVE EXPLAINS HIS RESIGNATION
In the four years since the worldwide financial collapse, not a single executive of the banks and Wall Street firms who, there is no longer any question, caused the meltdown, have been accused, arrested or prosecuted.
In their own eyes these bankers are, as Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfrein, proudly proclaimed, doing “God's work.” Well, maybe not everyone there thinks so anymore.
Last Wednesday, in an Op-Ed at The New York Times, Greg Smith who was executive director and head of Goldman Sachs' United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, explained his resignation:
”Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it...
“It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets,' sometimes over internal e-mail.”
Mr. Smith's statement is a stunning break from the one percents' stonewall defense. Of course, they are already concocting stories to discredit Smith. Go read his whole statement. Nothing there that you didn't not expect, but it's good to hear it from an insider.
GOOGLE EXECUTIVE EXPLAINS WHY HE QUIT
It's been a big week for resignations by executives disenchanted with the culture of the big-time corporations they served. On Tuesday, Google engineering director, James Whittaker, explained why he left. This is only the most colorful part of his explanation:
”Google+ and me, we were simply never meant to be. Truth is I’ve never been much on advertising. I don’t click on ads. When Gmail displays ads based on things I type into my email message it creeps me out. I don’t want my search results to contain the rants of Google+ posters (or Facebook’s or Twitter’s for that matter). When I search for 'London pub walks' I want better than the sponsored suggestion to 'Buy a London pub walk at Wal-Mart.'”
Me too, which I why I switched to Bing as my default search engine some time ago.
It's fascinating to watch these high-powered men stop drinking the corporate Kool-Aid. I wonder if two executive resignations from gigantic corporations is a trend? You can read more of Whittaker's explanation here.
THE CARTIER COUGAR ODYSSEY
Yes, it is a commercial – a long one. Yes, it is for a product far beyond the reach of anyone in the 99 percent, which feels way too decadent to bother with during our current economic clime. But it is also breathtakingly gorgeous. Definitely worth a click on that button for full screen viewing.
PREGNANCY TIMELAPSE VIRAL VIDEO
This was the viral video of the week. A young couple's record of the nine months of their baby's gestation in under two minutes. Wonderful.
AMAZING SLOW MOTION POLLINATION
TGB reader Larry Beck sent along this beautiful video of the many ways of pollination – all in slomo and taken from a TED talk. Don't miss it.
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.