‘Til death do us part: Marriage destroyed by war


Mohammad Jumbaz and Ayat Al-Qassad were expecting their first child when Ayat was killed

For the third time, Mahmoud Al-Qassab lowers the body of one of his children into the ground. He steps back as neighbors and relatives shovel dirt over his teenage daughter’s grave.

He does not cry or wail.

“I thank God this is my third martyr: Ahmed, Abdullah and now her. I thank God, and I will not say anything against his fate,” Mahmoud told an activist filming the small funeral.

Just a few months ago, 18-year-old Ayat Al-Qassab sang and danced with her mother and aunts as they dressed the bride in her wedding gown. Now, her shattered and bloodied body lies in a grave below the crumbling, bullet-ridden buildings of Homs.

(via. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/29/world/meast/syria-newlyweds-death/index.html?hpt=hp_t2)

Mideast peace starts with talking to Iran


British EU official Catherine Ashton, front left, walks with Iraq’s Hoshyar Zebari to talks between the P5+1 and Iran.

President Barack Obama is getting a lot of free advice. Here’s a question, not an answer: With every issue in the Middle East intertwined with every other, like a giant bowl of spaghetti, where do you begin?

In reality, no matter where you begin in the Middle East, each strand connects to almost every other:

Syria? Immediately you must think of the Turks who are harboring refugees and fighters just across the border, and Syrian Kurds, who are beginning to harbor thoughts of autonomy and are increasing contacts with their ethnic brothers in Iraq and Turkey.

(via. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/16/opinion/sick-mideast/index.html?hpt=hp_c2)

Israel Medical Marijuana Industry Growing In Scope


cannabis cigarettes are seen at Tikkun Olam medical cannabis farm, near the northern Israeli city of Safed, Israel. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Moshe Rute survived the Holocaust by hiding in a barn full of chickens. He nearly lost the use of his hands after a stroke two years ago. He became debilitated by recurring nightmares of his childhood following his wife’s death last year.

“But after I found this, everything has been better,” said the 80-year-old, as he gingerly packed a pipe with marijuana.

(via. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/israel-marijuana-industry_n_2066494.html)


I  am always amazed at how a few simple ideas, offered with compassion, can turn into something extraordinary. A small group of volunteers from Turner Broadcasting recently gave their time and talents to teach refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong about photography. They had no idea that they would make such an impact!

(via. http://www.christianactiondirector.com/imported-20100529140357/2012/10/8/soul-in-a-metropolis.html?utm_source=Siew+Mei%27s+Blog+Newsletter+US&utm_campaign=3f4e915d47-Siew_Mei_s_Blog_Update_5_19_09&utm_medium=email)

Study: Retiring at 70 May Still Be Too Soon



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Retiring at 70 May Still Be Too Soon

Research from the nonprofit Employee Benefits Research Institute throws cold water on the notion that working until age 70 will set most Americans up for adequate retirement income.

Jack VanDerhei, research director at E.B.R.I., says some studies have suggested that by working to age 70 — five years past the traditional retirement age of 65 — nearly 80 percent of pre-retirees, including lower-income Americans, could have adequate retirement income.

(via. http://www.cnbc.com/id/49001556/)

Emoticons: The History of Digital Sarcasm ;-)

Emoticons, used since 1982

Do emoticons make you 🙂 or 😦 ? Whether you like them or not, you probably see emoticons — a portmanteau of “emotion” and “icon” — on a daily basis and thus, can appreciate the history of these quirky communication symbols. Here’s a little explanation, which we thought appropriate since today marks the 30-year anniversary of their first use.

On September 19, 1982, Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, posted the first documented “emoticons” (a happy face and a sad face), formed with a colon, a hyphen and a bracket.

(via. http://mashable.com/2012/09/19/emoticons/

Why Success Always Starts with Failure

“Few of our own failures are fatal,” economist and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford writes in his new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure. This may be true, but we certainly don’t act like it. When our mistakes stare us in the face, we often find it so upsetting that we miss out on the primary benefit of failing (yes, benefit): the chance to get over our egos and come back with a stronger, smarter approach.
According to Adapt, “success comes through rapidly fixing our mistakes rather than getting things right first time.” To prove his point, Harford cites compelling examples innovation by trial-and-error from visionaries as varied as choreographer Twyla Tharp and US Forces Commander David Petraeus.
I interviewed Harford over email to dig deeper into the counter-intuitive lessons ofAdapt. What follows is a series of key takeaways on the psychology of failure and adaptation, combining insights from our conversation and the book itself.
The Wrong Way To React To Failure
When it comes to failing, our egos are our own worst enemies. As soon as things start going wrong, our defense mechanisms kick in, tempting us to do what we can to save face. Yet, these very normal reactions — denial, chasing your losses, and hedonic editing — wreak havoc on our ability to adapt.
Denial. “It seems to be the hardest thing in the world to admit we’ve made a mistake and try to put it right. It requires you to challenge a status quo of your own making.”
Chasing your losses. We’re so anxious not to “draw a line under a decision we regret” that we end up causing still more damage while trying to erase it. For example, poker players who’ve just lost some money are primed to make riskier bets than they’d normally take, in a hasty attempt to win the lost money back and “erase” the mistake.
Hedonic editing. When we engage in “hedonic editing,” we try to convince ourselves that the mistake doesn’t matter, bundling our losses with our gains or finding some way to reinterpret our failures as successes.
We’re so anxious not to “draw a line under a decision we regret” that we end up causing still more damage while trying to erase it.
The Recipe for Successful Adaptation
At the crux of Adapt lies this conviction: In a complex world, we must use an adaptive, experimental approach to succeed. Harford argues, “the more complex and elusive our problems are, the more effective trial and error becomes.” We can’t begin to predict whether our “great idea” will actually sink or swim once it’s out there.Harford outlines three principles for failing productively: You have to cast a wide net, “practice failing” in a safe space, and be primed to let go of your idea if you’ve missed the mark.

Try new things. “Expose yourself to lots of different ideas and try lots of different approaches, on the grounds that failure is common.”

Experiment where failure is survivable. “Look for experimental approaches where there’s lots to learn – projects with small downsides but bigger upsides. Too often we take on projects where the cost of failure is prohibitive, and just hope for the best.”

Recognize when you haven’t succeeded. “The third principle is the easiest to state and the hardest to stick to: know when you’ve failed.”

The more complex and elusive our problems are, the more effective trial and error becomes.
How To Recognize Failure
This is the hard part. We’ve been trained that “persistence pays off,” so it feels wrong to cut our losses and label an idea a failure. But if you’re truly self-aware and listening closely after a “release” of your idea, you can’t go wrong. Being able to recognize a failure just means that you’ll be able to re-cast it into something more likely to succeed.Gather feedback. “Above all, feedback is essential for determining which experiments have succeeded and which have failed. Get advice, not just from one person, but from several.” Some professions have build-in feedback: reviews if you’re in the arts, sales and analytics if you release a web product, comments if you’re a blogger. If the feedback is harsh, be objective, “take the venom out,” and dig out the real advice.

Remove emotions from the equation. “It’s important to be dispassionate: forget whether you’re ahead or behind, and try to look at the likely costs and benefits of continuing from when you are.”

Don’t get too attached to your plan. “There’s nothing wrong with a plan, but remember Von Moltke’s famous dictum that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. The danger is a plan that seduces us into thinking failure is impossible and adaptation is unnecessary – a kind of ‘Titanic’ plan, unsinkable (until it hits the iceberg).”

Being able to recognize a failure just means that you’ll be able to re-cast it into something more likely to succeed.
Creating Safe Spaces to Fail
Twyla Tharp says, “The best failures are the private ones you commit in the confines of your own room, with no strangers watching.” She rises as 5:30 AM and videotapes herself freestyling for 3 hours each morning, happy if she extracts just 30 seconds of usable material from the whole tape. This is a great example of a “safe space to fail.” But many of us don’t have this luxury of time or freedom. So how do we create this space?Practice disciplined pluralism. Markets work by this process, encouraging the exploration of many new ideas as well as the ruthless weeding out of the ones that fall short. “Pluralism works because life is not worth living without new experiences.” Try a lot of things, and commit only to what’s working.

Finding “a safe space to fail is a state of mind.” Assuming that you don’t operate a nuclear power plant for a living, you can probably infuse a bit more freedom and flexibility into your workday. Give yourself permission to test out a few off-the-wall ideas mixed in with the by-the-book ideas.

Imitate the college experience. “College is an amazing safe space to fail. We are experimenting with new friends, a new city, new hobbies and new ideas – and we’ll often mess up academically and socially as a result. But we know that as long as we don’t screw up too dramatically, we’ll finish college, graduate, and move on – that mix of risk and safety is intoxicating. Yet somehow as we grow older we lose it.”

What’s Your Take?
Do you think that trial and error is the most effective approach for innovation?
What are your tips for surviving failure?

Historia: Los grandes de la Era de la Información

Historia: ¿Quienes fueron los protagonistas de la era de la información?, Bill Gates y Steve Jobs, seres humanos comunes y ordinarios que marcaron la hostoria con sistemas y objetos extraordinarios que ahora forman parte muy indispensable de la totalidad de la clase productiva del mundo entero.

Quienes estuveron a su alrededor y en que personas se conviertieron ellos mientras escribian la historia con sus compañías. Esta serie de videos nos enseña en realidad de lo que somos capaces de crear pero sobre todo del hecho de que nadie hace historia sin la gente que se encuentra a su alrededor.

Ana Luisa OS.

Convertir ruinas en Inspiración – Arquitectura

New York planeaba tirar abajo la High Line, una vía férrea en altura en Manhattan, cuando Robert Hammond y unos amigos sugirieron: ¿por qué no hacerla un parque? Nos comparte cómo sucedió en esta historia de activismo cultural local.

Translated into Spanish by Gisela Giardino
Reviewed by Sebastian Betti
Comments? Please email the translators above.

MOVE // MUEVETE [video]

La magia de moverte.






About this video:
“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..

= a trip of a lifetime.

move, eat, learn

Rick Mereki : Director, producer, additional camera and editing
Tim White : DOP, producer, primary editing, sound
Andrew Lees : Actor, mover, groover

These films were commissioned by STA Travel Australia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BrDlrytgm8

Thanks heaps to Adam Fyfe, Brendan, Simon and Crissy at STA.

All Music composed and performed by Kelsey James (kelseyanne.james@gmail.com)
Music Recorded and mixed by Jake Phillips

Ciudades universitarias WI-FI para emprender con el aire. // English











Las universidades en ciudades de Indiana, Kentuky y Missouri estan planeando cubrir cada ciudad en zona de internet de super velocidad para que la capacidad de emprender negocios tecnologicos aumente entre todos los jovenes estudiantes ademas de aumentar la competitividad de Estados Unidos frente al mundo.

Twenty-nine universities have teamed up to build ultra-high-speed computer networks in the communities surrounding them, in the hopes that the new technology will attract high-tech startups in fields like health care, energy and telecommunications to towns in Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. We’re not just talking regular wireless—these internet speeds would potentially be hundreds of times faster than the typical household’s laptop, fast enough to download HD movies in less than a minute.

These universities are hoping to create a tech frontier, an environment for innovation that would eventually help the United States become more competitive internationally. Although we were doing well up until the 1990s, the United States is now ranked a pathetic 30th in terms of network bandwidth available to the population.

Even though it sounds like a noble cause, some technologists are wondering whether this is an  idea that has no application in the real world. They point out that downloading high-resolution video is really the only major benefit to having these ultra-high-speed networks. Others say there’s no way to know what form these new technologies will take, and therefore no way to plan for them.

But even if these initiatives don’t pan out the way the universities hope, this push could have positive effects on the communities around them. It’s no secret that town-gown relations can be either strained or uncomfortably co-dependent, and having this new technology for the entire area and not just sequestered on campus could ease those tensions. These one-gigabit networks wouldn’t just be for researchers and professors, after all, but for the homes surrounding the university. And if it does end up attracting startups, like Case Western‘s pilot program did, it’d not only be good for the university and our global reputation—it could actually create jobs and new opportunities for regular people in these towns’ local economies.

Un cinema hecho de refrigeradores // English

En el Este de Londres han decidido hacer de sus refrigeradores inservibles una propuesta de arte y de anticipación a una cultura deportiva esperando los juegos olimpicos. Cuando tienes disposición de ener una buena vida, hasta lo inservible edifica diversión.

Magnetic poetry is the go-to medium for people looking to get creative with their refrigerator’s white space. This summer, however, a group of East London creatives is upping the ante. “Films on Fridges” is a movie series and pop-up theater built out of discarded fridges. The project is a creative twist on the outdoor film screening concept that’s become synonymous with summer and taken over rooftops, parks, and evencemeteries in cities around the world.

Before the Hackney Wick neighborhood had a fridge theater, it had the “Fridge Mountain,” Europe‘s biggest stack of discarded fridges—20 feet high and wide enough to show up on Google Maps (see below). As part of a massive clean-up effort to ready the area for the Summer 2012 Olympics, the bizarre and somewhat beloved local landmark was carted away. Films on Fridges serves as a nod to the area’s past and a wink at its future as well: the film series is sports-themed—Cool Runnings plays this weekend—in anticipation of next year’s Olympics.

Screenings run through August 13, and many are sold out already. If you’re in London, get tickets here. If you aren’t, check out how they made the theater on the Films on Fridges website.

Red Cross vending machine/ La maquina de sodas de la Cruz Roja


Darrell Nelson

Published: July 5, 2011Posted in: DIGITAL LIFE, PRODUCT INNOVATIONS

Coca-Cola and the Japanese Red Cross have rolled out a vending machine that lets users donate money directly to the vending machine. Making use of the fact that Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita in the world, with about one machine for every twenty- three people, the simple introduction of the “charity button” is aimed at making it easier for users to donate towards the rebuilding of areas hardest hit by the recent disasters in Japan.

Users are given the option of donating either ¥10 or ¥100, and as with a normal purchase the buttons light up when the money is inserted but instead of receiving a beverage when pressed, the machine emits a loud “Thank you very much for the donation”. The units themselves are branded with the iconic red cross and have some images of the work the Japan Red Cross are currently doing around the world and in Tohoku as part of ongoing relief efforts.


100% of the money collected through to September will go towards the relief efforts of the earthquake and thevending machines will remain in place to collect money for the Red Cross indefinitely.


Whilst this certainly makes it a lot easier for members of the public to donate using the ubiquitous machines, it may be even more effective if users actually receive something for their donations. Adding an incentive, for example a limited edition pin badge that donators can wear with pride displaying their generosity, may help to drive more people to part with their yen. Ultimately it would be great to see specific charity vending machines that rather than added on as a side function, raising funds could actually be the main feature of such machines, and are seen around town as much as the beverage vending equivalents.

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