DIY: From Whole Earth Review to This Old House

“In the 1970s, DIY spread through the North American population of college- and recent-college-graduate age groups. In part, this movement involved the renovation of affordable, rundown older homes. But it also related to various projects expressing the social and environmental vision of the 1960s and early 1970s. The young visionary Stewart Brand, working with friends…

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The Benefits of Publicness

“Publicness builds trust. Secrecy doesn’t. Publicness kills the myth of perfection. That is, when we open our process, we are showing our faults and are no longer held at every moment to the myth of perfection that has come to rule our industrial-age processes. Publicness enables the wisdom of the crowd. If we all keep…

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Alexis Madrigal on “weak ties” and activism

“I’ve been watching some people’s minds work on [Facebook] for years. Every day I see their faces in my feed. To label these weak ties is just inaccurate. And it makes me wonder, can’t we know people through their writing? Is face-to-face contact the only way to build strong ties? “University of Maryland-Baltimore sociologist Zeynep…

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On the science of creativity

The University of Chicago’s John Cacioppo … has helped pioneer research that shows how social connection shapes everything from depression and anxiety to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Drawing on evolutionary psychology, cognitive experiments, and brain scans, Cacioppo and his colleagues make a persuasive case that what we consider the “self” is in…

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Video: Cinematic Orchestra – To Build A Home

From YouTube and Song Meanings: There is a house built out of stone / Wooden floors, walls and window sills / Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust This is a place where I don’t feel alone / This is a place where I feel at home Video embedded from YouTube Lyrics (excerpts)…

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Nomadic Roots of the Violin

My daughter is going to be starting violin lessons, so we found this history of the violin. The earliest stringed instruments were mostly plucked (e.g. the Greek lyre). Bowed instruments may have originated in the equestrian cultures of Central Asia… Turkic and Mongolian horsemen from Inner Asia were probably the world’s earliest fiddlers. Their two-stringed…

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Lost in the Crowd – David Brooks’ review of Gladwell’s “Outliers”

“Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons.” But why argue nature versus nuture. Perhaps, social arrangements nurture “personal control of attention” more in some cultures. Both/and rather…

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Liminal worlds

The concept of liminality is fairly recent, coming into usage by anthropologists, mainly to describe rituals and other events that place people on borders or boundaries. The realm of faerie, however, has been recognized for many centuries by people all over the world. And faerie has always been a liminal world, whether or not that…

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Video: Lightning Crashes

lightning crashes, a new mother cries her placenta falls to the floor the angel opens her eyes the confusion sets in before the doctor can even close the door lightning crashes, an old mother dies her intentions fall to the floor the angel closes her eyes the confusion that was hers belongs now to the…

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Life Before Death at the Wellcome Collection

This sombre series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying – and living. Life Before Death at the Wellcome…

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Video: Habib Koite – Cumbancha

Habib Koite is a stunning presence on stage — a beautiful singer and guitar player and a person of real personal charisma. His studio recordings don’t capture that energy, but they showcase the beauty of his music.

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Old Peter’s Russian Tales retold by Arthur Ransome

The stories in this book are those that Russian peasants tell their children and each other. In Russia hardly anybody is too old for fairy stories, and I have even heard soldiers on their way to the war talking of very wise and very beautiful princesses as they drank their tea by the side of…

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Video: Kate Bush – Man with the Child in His Eyes

From Daily Motion I hear him before I go to sleep And focus on the day that’s been I realise he’s there when I turn the light off And turn over Nobody knows about my man They think he’s lost on some horizon And suddenly I find myself Listening to a man I’ve never known…

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