Friday, January 11, 2013

Best of the Week #88

Since this past May, I have realized my life-long dream of living with or near people who run as much/fast/frequently as I do. This means I almost always have someone to meet in the mornings, the guilt of not showing regularly forcing me out of bed, and I am therefore totally spoiled.

I can run by myself, and often I do and enjoy it, but this morning was not such a morning. My alarm went off at 6:25 am o’clock (I planned to pool run), and I immediately reset it for 6:45 (eh, I don’t have to pool run that long). When 6:45 came oh-too-soon, I decided to run instead of pool (running takes less time) and re-set it for 7:00. By 7:00 I was mid-dream and incredibly comfortable, so I made the executive decision not to work out at all today and reset my alarm for 8:15 (enough time for me to get to work, no shower). But then when I heard SpeedyKate come home from her run at 7:30, I was in a half-awake should-I-run-or-should-I-sleep debate, and finally guilted myself out of bed and out the door by 7:40. So there’s that. It was actually not a terrible run, and I tell you all this just to instill the message that even for “real” runners it is HARD sometimes…but usually worth it.

Anywho, I have a lot of links to share this week! My most popular post was “Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting,” which was featured on the Christian Science Monitor’s "Stir It Up" blog.

Let’s start with something silly. This video, “Gangnam Style remixed with MC Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit,” gets exponentially better right around 2:55.

Random question – does anyone else get pop-up adds for a “CIA Intelligence Degree” on YouTube? I’m assuming, as in all things, Google knows every site I’ve ever visited and has targeted adds at me accordingly….so why does Google think I want this?

I spent waaaaayyy too much time on this Tumblr called Bookfessions this week and added all my favorites to my "Books" Pinterest board…so I’ll leave you to that particular Tumblr rabbit-hole.

Speaking of reading, “The Underground New York Public Library.” A series of pictures of people reading on the subway.

Why do we get pruney fingers in water? (source)
  • For a long time, it was assumed that the wrinkles were simply the result of the skin swelling in water, but recent investigations have actually shown the furrows to be caused by the blood vessels constricting in reaction to the water, which in turn is a response controlled by the body's sympathetic nervous system.
OMG guys a Rhino Orphanage. This is simultaneously the most adorable and saddest thing ever. New life goal: bottle-feed a baby rhino.

On the serious side: “I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t.”
  • Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.
Think your identity is private? Nope.  (source)
  • 87% of US residents can be uniquely identified by zip+DOB+gender 
Fireworks exploding in reverse – SO COOL. I love fireworks.

"Do French women need feminism?"
  • From afar, many think French women don't need such victories, at least when it comes to the child/work balance that so eludes American women.
  • French women sit in the bottom half of Europe's rankings on a slew of measures from the most recent 2012 World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index – even taking last place on the group's perceived wage-equality survey indicator – while sexism and even sexual harassment have been overlooked or disregarded as the necessary evil of an otherwise lovely cultural relationship between men and women. Just recently all the government's ministers were sent to 45-minute anti-sexism classes.
  • Generous state support for working mothers is widely endorsed by French women, but many argue that, having hailed from a historic pro-childbearing effort, French women haven't really promoted gender or social equality.
  • Women in France have less access to justice when it comes to sexual harassment. According to the French Ministry of Justice, about 1,000 complaints for sexual harassment are filed every year, but only a few dozen lead to sentencing.
  • And overall, the World Economic Forum's index puts France at 57 of 135 countries in terms of gender equality, falling in ranking from the year before. It sits well behind the Scandinavian countries, all in the Top 10, as well as behind Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the US.
I want pistachio oil.

Word of the day: "shibboleth."
  • From Wikipedia: a word, sound, or custom that a person unfamiliar with its significance may not pronounce or perform correctly relative to those who are familiar with it. It is used to identify foreigners or those who do not belong to a particular class or group of people. It also refers to features of language, and particularly to a word or phrase whose pronunciation identifies a speaker as belonging to a particular group.
  • Where I found it: “Yet weariness remains one of the great shibboleths of U.S. foreign policy. In reality, Americans continue to support, usually with significant majorities, overseas military operations, at least at their outset.”
Picture me standing between Elijah Wood and Al Pacino

The Christmas Book flood – maybe I should move to Iceland?
  • Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."
The saddest graph you’ll see today (this week? This month? Ever?):

22 Things You’re Doing Wrong.” The bobby pins one – blowing my mind. Luckily I was already right on the cupcake-eating front, and have never felt the urge to crush a beer can on my head.

I never had braces, and I’m pretty happy about that. But in Asia apparently it’s cool and trendy?! Fashion Braces.
  • For many Westerners, braces are the bane of adolescence, but teens in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malayasia have co-opted a mouthful of metal as the latest fashion trend.
  • The media has been abuzz over the past week with reports of youngsters in Southeast Asia buying black market braces -- fake metal-and-rubber mouth accessories in a rainbow of colors and designs (Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse are popular options) -- for around $100 a pop.
  • Aside from the fashion statement, wearing a mouthful of braces has the added allure of being a status symbol. In Bangkok, paying for dental care is costly, with real braces running around $1,200 -- a hefty sum for the average family.

Love this (apparently this is a book-themed Best of the Week).

Bikeshare! Go DC!
  • But today, the nation’s largest, most successful bike-share program—in terms of size, ridership, and financial viability—is in Washington, D.C. How did D.C. accomplish this unlikely task?
  • The system is not without its weaknesses. Work by David Daddio has shown, for example, that many stations are underused, and that a station’s success depends largely on five factors: The age of its nearby population; the density of retail outlets (and in particular liquor licenses); the proximity of Metrorail stations; distance from the center of the system itself; and, essentially, the presence of a lot of white people. Gilliland says Capital is trying to counter the demographic skew, not just through geographic expansion, but in a partnership with Bank on D.C. to provide bike-share access to the “unbanked” —i.e., people who don’t have credit cards, which are necessary to use the system.
This video is TOO FUNNY. "Invisible Driver Fast Food Drive-In Prank."

I have the 9th most popular dog name. Who’s surprised? No one. My dog’s names have been Watch, Watch, Sarah, and Amy (no that’s not a typo, we had two dogs named Watch, oh The Boxcar Children days.) “Top Pet Names for 2012.”

More on color: Orange or beige…conflicting reports:

  • Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University tested this theory by having 57 participants taste the same type of hot chocolate out of four different cups: white, creme, red and orange. All of the participants claimed the hot chocolate in the orange and creme cups tasted better than the others, with some even going so far as to say the chocolate in the creme cups was sweeter and more aromatic.
And finally, caption contest?

Hope you have a great weekend! SpeedyKate and I are off to conquer West Virginia (again), Winter Edition.