21 April, 2011

How to get a real education, by Scott Adams -- yes, the Dilbert guy

Scott Adam's experience at college resembles my own, to a certain extent. I also went to a relatively small college -- Trinity in Dublin, where the entire arts and humanities undergrad student body was under 2,000 students, I believe -- and I also found ways of being enterprising both in my studies -- I carved out a degree in Italian medieval history where there was none offered -- and in the societies I joined. I had a great time of it, as well.

I am looking forward to my next degree!!!! This is going to be fuuuun!!!! A lot of work, I'm sure... but FUN work!!! I hope RSM kicks my ass to an appropriate degree.

Our true homes -- Our forests -- 2011 International Year of the Forests

I've always felt most at home in forests and jungles.

The forests in my grandparents' home in Temagami were especially bountiful and special for me as a child and a teenager, as were the jungles in Malaysia near the Mariposa river where my father took me as a child. I've seen wolves, bears, deer, moose, elephant (Asian), ourgan-outang, tapir, snakes of every sort, leeches, all kinds of crazy birds, and who knows what else, all in the wild, all in their natural habitats.

For me, what makes a place special is running water, flowing water, water in movement. This means that the water will taste fresh, and that other animals will come to drink it, eventually. So it is a place to sit, drink, eat, wash, and play.

I wish to keep our forests as intact as possible, so that other children can find themselves, find each other, play and grow.

18 April, 2011

Alarmism or reality?

The president of the World Bank has warned that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis".

Robert Zoellick cited rising food prices as the main threat to poor nations who risk "losing a generation".

He was speaking in Washington at the end of the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, G20 finance chiefs, who also met in Washington, pledged financial support to help new governments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr Zoellick said such support was vital.

"The crisis in the Middle East and North Africa underscores how we need to put the conclusions from our latest world development report into practice. The report highlighted the importance of citizen security, justice and jobs," he said.

Cultural evolution, not the brain, drives language development

I love it when general theories are debunked!

From the BBC:

Modern phylogenetics studies look at variations in animals that are known to be related, and from those can work out when specific structures evolved.

For their studies, the team studied the characteristics of word order in four language families: Indo-European, Uto-Aztec, Bantu and Austronesian.

They considered whether what we call prepositions occur before or after a noun ("in the boat" versus "the boat in") and how the word order of subject and object work out in either case ("I put the dog in the boat" versus "I the dog put the canoe in").

The method starts by making use of well-established linguistic data on words and grammar within these language families, and building "family trees" of those languages.

"Once we have those trees we look at distribution of these different word order features over the descendant languages, and build evolutionary models for what's most likely to produce the diversity that we observe in the world," Dr Dunn said.
Pea plants in a greenhouse The methods use inference in a similar way to Mendel's studies of pea plants

The models revealed that while different language structures in the family tree could be seen to evolve along the branches, just how and when they evolved depended on which branch they were on.

"We show that each of these language families evolves according to its own set of rules, not according to a universal set of rules," Dr Dunn explained.

The Economist's take on the subject:

14 April, 2011

25,000 Acts of Green initiative at RSM

Inspired by the "Billion Acts of Green©" campaign of the 'Earth Day Network', a yearly returning world wide day.
The "25,000 Acts of Green" is a local initiative of the Erasmus University initiated by GreenEUR and her Chairman of the Advisory Board, Ingrid de Vries. Our mission is to inspire students and to make the Erasmus University Sustainable, step by step.

Right on!!! I think I picked the right business school.

Economist article about business needing more artists

This bodes well for me, as an "artist" who wants to get in to RSM B-school.

ARTISTS routinely deride businesspeople as money-obsessed bores. Or worse. Every time Hollywood depicts an industry, it depicts a conspiracy of knaves. Think of “Wall Street” (which damned finance), “The Constant Gardener” (drug firms), “Super Size Me” (fast food), “The Social Network” (Facebook) or “The Player” (Hollywood itself). Artistic critiques of business are sometimes precise and well-targeted, as in Lucy Prebble’s play “Enron”. But often they are not, as those who endured Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” can attest.

Many businesspeople, for their part, assume that artists are a bunch of pretentious wastrels. Bosses may stick a few modernist daubs on their boardroom walls. They may go on corporate jollies to the opera. They may even write the odd cheque to support their wives’ bearded friends. But they seldom take the arts seriously as a source of inspiration.

The bias starts at business school, where “hard” things such as numbers and case studies rule. It is reinforced by everyday experience. Bosses constantly remind their underlings that if you can’t count it, it doesn’t count. Quarterly results impress the stockmarket; little else does.

To read on, click the link above.

12 April, 2011

Interesting paper: The Exiled

Info about Russian news, with a sense of humour.

Should inspect it more in the future. In the meantime... Spam spam spam. ;)

Hypocracy cubed

Wow, this woman really takes the cake.

I think it is exemplary of what is happening in the US and other parts of the world right now.

I think we will look back at this period of history and be amazed.

It's time to take a stand, methinks.

King Crabs Invade Antarctica

It’s like a scene out of a sci-fi movie – thousands, possibly millions, of king crabs are marching through icy deep-sea waters and up the Antarctic slope.

“They are coming from the deep, somewhere between 6,000 to 9,000 feet down,” said James McClintock, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham Endowed Professor of Polar and Marine Biology.

Shell-crushing crabs haven’t been in Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, for hundreds or thousands, if not millions, of years, McClintock said. “They have trouble regulating magnesium ions in their body fluids and get kind of drunk at low temperatures.”

But something has changed, and these crustaceans are poised to move by the droves up the slope and onto the shelf that surrounds Antarctica. McClintock and other marine researchers interested in the continent are sounding alarms because the vulnerable ecosystem could be wiped out, he said.

Antarctic clams, snails and brittle stars, because of adaptation to their environment, have soft shells and have never had to fight shell-crushing predators. “You can take an Antarctic clam and crush it with your hands,” McClintock said. They could be the main prey for these crabs, he said.

Loss of unique mollusks could jeopardize organisms with disease-fighting compounds, McClintock said. Sea squirts, for example, produce an agent that fights skin cancer. If the crabs eat them, it could bring McClintock’s research with that organism to a halt.

McClintock’s chemical ecology program has published more than 100 papers on species researchers have discovered, including the compound that combats skin cancer and one to treat flu, that are being explored by drug companies.

“I am very concerned that species could disappear, and we could lose a cure to a disease,” he said.

McClintock’s colleague Sven Thatje, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist at the University of Southampton in England, saw the first signs of the king crab invasion in 2007. He spotted a lone crab climbing up the slope. McClintock and Rich Aronson, Ph.D., a paleoecologist at the Florida Institute of Technology, put together a proposal to launch the first systematic search for king crabs in Antarctica. With Thatje as chief expedition scientist, the team headed back with two ships and a submarine earlier this year.

And, now that the king crabs are on the Antarctic slope, some fishermen are anxious to head to Antarctica as well. McClintock has already gotten an email from a fisherman asking when he can come.

But the icy waters and dangerous logistics make fishing difficult, McClintock said. “There is a TV show called the ‘The Deadliest Catch,’” he said. “Well this is the deadliest, deadliest catch.”

11 April, 2011

How I came up with the online nickname Kaiserina

When I was living in Italy and starting to use the net, and had happened upon a website called Electric Minds, I had recently seen the movie "The Usual Suspects", and I looooved the story of Kaiser Soze (where the heck is the umlaut on this thing?), with its high drama, flames, tragedy and betrayal... and of course I Looooooooooved the movie, totalllllll awesomeness times a million exponential and cubed.

I just liked the name, and thought Kaiserina sounded kinda cool.... Plus, my name starts with a K and Kaiserina sounded like Caterina to me, i.e. Katherine in Italian.

08 April, 2011

Advertising say whaaaaaaa????

No link, just me, musing aloud....

I have a love=hate relationship with advertising.It creates Art, but it also abuses Art. And it´s a bit of a drug. It distracts us.

We shouldn´t abuse the Muses. We should let them sing, dance, write, record history... whatever! Let them do what they want, let them do what they do best!

Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, a nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat, etc. etc.