Friday, January 4, 2013

Best of the Week #87

Hello hello! This is our first Best of the Week for 2013! And my 87th week compiling these posts!!! (That is insane…anyone who is ungodly bored could waste a lot of time on this tag…)

My most popular post this week was Costa Rica, which is from my first trip to that fabulous vacationland in summer 2010…siiiigh, this time last year I was poolside.

Can we talk about TV for a second? I have a new show: Nashville. There are only 9 episodes and I am obsessed. And it’s not just country music-loving me – people who don’t like country like the show. Sooo you should watch it. (And listen to this and this.)

I got into an interesting discussion about color and color theory at work yesterday (if we redesign our website, what colors should we use more? less? why?), which of course led me down a bit of an internet rabbit hole…here’s some interesting fun facts (having never taken any kind of art class, this may be all old news and/or only interesting to me). Also, for the record, my favorite colors are blue and yellow, and my least favorite color is orange.

  • Red can actually have a physical effect on people, raising blood pressure and respiration rates.
  • Outside the western world, red has different associations. For example, in China, red is the color of prosperity and happiness. It can also be used to attract good luck. In other eastern cultures, red is worn by brides on their wedding days. In South Africa, however, red is the color of mourning.
  • In Egypt, yellow is for mourning. In Japan, it represents courage, and in India it’s a color for merchants.
  • Blue is the only primary color within the cool spectrum, which means the other colors are created by combining blue with a warm color (yellow for green and red for purple). Greens take on some of the attributes of yellow, and purple takes on some of the attributes of red. Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.
  • Green has many of the same calming attributes that blue has, but it also incorporates some of the energy of yellow.
  • Dark blues are excellent for corporate sites or designs where strength and reliability are important.
  • In Thailand, purple is the color of mourning for widows.
In things I learned this week: my favorite book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, is a movie in French and it’s good! Called The Hedgehog – it’s on Netflix Instant right now. Bonus times a million points if you can finish this line: “They didn’t recognize me. It is because they have never seen you…”

Is this real? “Ice Cream Buybacks.” No seriously – is it???
  • Mayor Blomberg announced today a new program to help reduce obesity and heart disease, ice cream buybacks. Any ice cream that citizens wish to turn in will be bought for up to $5 a pint. No questions asked.  ”Heart disease is the number one killer in the nation,” said Mayor Blomberg, “and we must do everything we can to get Ben and Jerry and these other killers off our streets.”
This makes me laugh more than it probably should…“Baby trashes bar in Las Palmas.”

Government-approved list of names?!? How limiting. What would all the Apples and Maddoxes and Sage Moonbloods do??? (Those are real American names.) “Iceland teen fights government to approve her name.”
  • A 15-year-old is suing the Icelandic state for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother. The problem? Blaer, which means "light breeze" in Icelandic, is not on a list approved by the government.
  • Like a handful of other countries, including Germanyand Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. In a country comfortable with a firm state role, most people don't question the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and that officials maintain will protect children from embarrassment.
I just like this picture. Someday I will tell you about my lambing experiences.

Oh dear, economic policy and The Hobbit – I have reached a whole new level of nerdy. “Smaug the dragon's monetary tightening.”
  • So Smaug dies in the end, and the gold was released into Middle Earth’s money supply. Was there hyper-inflation as a result? Or did Nominal GDP return to trend (i.e. the “catching up” theory that has been talked about by Central Bankers like Mark Carney lately) without longer term inflation problems? If there was hyper-inflation perhaps the political instability that resulted allowed the rise of Sauron as a leader, and the subsequent world war between Men and Elves, and Orcs?
I’m supposed to read this – have you heard of it/read it? The Man Who Tried to Save the World.

I love The Mindy Project and 100% agree: "Literally the Best Thing Ever: The Mindy Project."
  • The Mindy Project is a show where the lead gains confidence by channeling a warrior named BeyoncĂ© Pad Thai. It is a show where teenagers at a swanky high school have a class called History of Dubstep. It is a show where a bright blue alcoholic drink is compared to the liquid used in pad commercials. It is a show that is, literally, THE BEST THING EVER.
Random flashback to my life in 2005/6, I love the intro music to this song. And the whole album actually.

I never felt the urge to do an ultra anything…until now. And I am DYING to do this: "Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race." Sister2, you with me???

  • Founded in 1991, the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race takes place over five days in the foothills of the Himalayas in the eastern corner of India, on or near (depending on the stage) the border of Nepal. The course is the same every year and traverses between 6,000 and 13,000 feet. Most years, between 50 and 100 people participate; this November, 68 people participated. Many walk the entire way, and even the best runners must walk extended sections because they're so steep. You pass through several small towns along the way but are mostly in very remote areas on roads and trails. Each night you sleep in unheated huts and lodges (the temperature ranges from about 28 to 70 F), eat communally with participants who come from all parts of the world, and remain always under the authoritative yet extremely competent care of one C.S. Pandey, race founder and the only director the event has ever had. 
This is a little old but super-interesting: "How Did Syria Turn Off The Internet... And What Other Countries Can Just Hit The Off Switch Like That?"
  • Meanwhile, the folks at Renesys look into just how difficult it is to cut a country off from the internet, and whether other countries are at risk of the same sort of thing. Basically, it comes down to how decentralized the internet is in various countries -- and in many countries there isn't much decentralization. As Renesys notes, some countries have just one or two telcos who handle all internet traffic to and from the world. Those countries are easy to cut off. Renesys helpfully provides a map:

“I’m not grumpy, this is just how my face is shaped.” (source)

I always wonder about this too./Wish I were sitting in a coffee shop right now. Preferably sipping an Americano and eating a carrot muffin... “An Open Letter to People in Coffee Shops in the Middle of the Day.”
  • But what about you? It’s almost 3pm on a Tuesday and you are in a coffee shop! Are you like me? I want to know what you are doing here and I want to know your story! I want to know everything about all of these people in the coffee shop in the middle of the day!
"Chart (but not pick-me-up) of the day: Deaths around the world."

And to finish off the start of 2013 with some pure 100% ridiculousness: I kind of want a Celestial Soul Portrait. Right???

Have a good weekend!