"Treat your enemies as if they were precious jewels, because it's your enemies that build your tolerance and patience on the road to your enlightenment."
From Phil Borges "Photos of endangered cultures" @ TED

This is the world's first TV ad

The first TV commercial —the first legal one, at any rate— aired in the U.S. on July 1, 1941. It was a shaky, 10-second spot for Bulova, a watch and jewelry company that had been founded in New York 66 years before.

The spot cost Bulova all of $9: $4 for airtime and $5 for "station charges," according to American Heritage magazine. (Presumably its agency, Biow Company, took a slice of those "station charges.") The commercial only reached, at best, a few thousand people: Only 4,000 TV sets had been installed in New York at that time.


National Geographic Traveler 2013 Photo Contest

On May 10, 2013 The Big Picture featured some of the thousands of images that were entered in the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Magazine Photo Contest. The winners have been chosen. Their images follow. (The winners gallery is also available here as well as the complete contest and all its entrants here. You can see the editor's picks and can download wallpaper images for your desktop or your smartphone.) The winning images will appear in the Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

See photographs at The Big Picture website.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

from "The road not taken" by Robert Frost

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? “Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

This reminds me:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."Charles Darwin

Take "the Other" to lunch by Elizabeth Lesser

There’s an angry divisive tension in the air that threatens to make modern politics impossible. Elizabeth Lesser explores the two sides of human nature within us (call them “the mystic" and “the warrior”) that can be harnessed to elevate the way we treat each other. She shares a simple way to begin real dialogue — by going to lunch with someone who doesn’t agree with you, and asking them three questions to find out what’s really in their hearts.

Africa through a lens

Africa through a lens is a set of thousands of images taken from a broader photographic collection of Foreign and Commonwealth Office images, held at The National Archives. Starting with some incredible early photographs from the 1860s, the images span over 100 years of African history. These images are now available, for the first time, to view online.

The collection was brought about by the request of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1869. He asked governors to arrange for the taking of photographs of ‘noteworthy buildings and scenery … together with individuals of various races peculiar to the colony’. Each governor interpreted the task in his own way, which has culminated in this unique and varied collection. The original records include what appear to be personal scrapbooks, official albums, printed pamphlets and even framed photographs and paintings. Some images are official public information shots, others are hand drawn sketches. The number of images for each country also varies, depending on how diligently the request was carried out.

The collection covers just over 20 African countries from the 1860s up until the 1980s. The photographs help illustrate stories from Africa; from the ‘Scramble for Africa’ in the late 19th Century through to the independence of the African nations in the 1950s and 1960s. Included are pictures of chiefs, tribesmen and villages, famous landmarks, notable events, schools, farming and wildlife. Several photos show the construction of roads, bridges and harbours, while others show the development of industry, training and education. There are also images of demonstrations and celebrations of independence.

The National Archives and the photographic collection

In 2008 The National Archives acquired the Colonial Office photographic collection from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Following conservation work to ensure the future preservation of the images, the series has been digitised. This means we can provide online access to this stunning and rare collection of images, worldwide. We are beginning this project with Africa.

Africa through a lens

The Paris Review Interviews Now Online

From Open Culture:

The Paris Review, the great literary journal co-founded by George Plimpton, unveiled last week a new web site and a big archive of interviews with famous literary figures. Spanning five decades, the interviews often talk about the “how” of literature (to borrow a phrase from Salman Rushdie) – that is, how writers go about writing. Rummaging through the archive, you will encounter conversations with TS EliotWilliam FaulknerRalph EllisonErnest HemingwaySimone de BeauvoirSaul BellowJorge Luis BorgesNorman MailerMary McCarthyVladimir NabokovJohn SteinbeckJoan DidionKurt Vonnegut,Eudora WeltyRaymond CarverRussell BanksDon DeLilloToni Morrison,Paul Auster, etc. And, amazingly, this list only scratches the surface of what’s available.

Note: These interviews are separately available in book format: The Paris Review Interviews, Volumes 1-4

Open Culture

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio booksfree online coursesfree moviesfree language lessonsfree ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

Open Culture

Shakespeare's sonnets @ British Library

Wed 2 Feb 2011, 18.30 - 20.00 ~ Conference Centre, British Library, St. Pancras, London.
Probably the greatest love poems in English literature, the sonnets introduced to the language such phrases as ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, ‘the darling buds of May’, and ‘remembrance of things past’. Still fresh and intriguing after 400 years, they express almost every phase and every permutation of love, from the first infatuation to final loss, and are perhaps the most personal of all Shakespeare’s works.

An evening of appreciation and exploration with award-winning poet Don Paterson, and Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen (co-authors of the RSC Complete Works of William Shakespeare) and actor and writer Ben Crystal.
Book now.

Book review: What's Mine Is Yours--The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Review by Ruth Suehle

We live in a consumer culture in the most literal sense of that word. We aren’t just making purchases. We are consuming. And more than just consuming, we are obliterating our world’s resources at an alarming rate. We’ve become accustomed—and hungry for—changing styles with the change of seasons. But what we must do now is change not clothing, nor electronics, nor cars. We must change our culture. The hardest change of all. And that’s what Rachel Bostman and Roo Rogers’ What’s Mine Is Yours is about.

Book review: What's Mine Is Yours--The Rise of Collaborative Consumption