A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
How To Look
shoots with a large format camera using 8×10 film without any help of Polaroid or any other instant digital image. That usually equals in a more staged or unnatural result, but in the case of Thrice Removed leaves the viewer to decide whether they are looking at a captured moment, a staged set up, or something more surreal.
Delayed ….. Gratification
The Economist approvingly reviews Walter Mischel’s The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control. As a young psychology researcher at Stanford, Mischel devised a simple experiment to study delayed gratification:
In a sparsely furnished room Mr Mischel presented a group of children aged four and five from Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School with a difficult challenge. They were left alone with a treat of their choosing, such as a marshmallow or a biscuit. They could help themselves at once, or receive a larger reward (two marshmallows or biscuits) if they managed to wait for up to 20 minutes.
Years later he followed up the subjects and discovered that their ability to delay gratification as a child was a strong indicator of later success: test scores, body mass index, drug abuse.
Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post during Watergate, died this week aged 93. Appropriately his old paper ran a long obituary:
Mr. Bradlee loved the Watergate story, not least because it gave the newspaper “impact,” his favorite word in his first years as editor. He wanted the paper to be noticed. In his personal vernacular — a vivid, blasphemous argot that combined the swearwords he mastered in the Navy during World War II with the impeccable enunciation of a blue-blooded Bostonian — a great story was “a real tube-ripper.”
This meant a story was so hot that Post readers would rip the paper out of the tubes into which the paperboy delivered it. A bad story was “mego” — the acronym for “my eyes glaze over” — applied to anything that bored him. Maximizing the number of tube-rippers and minimizing mego was the Bradlee strategy.
Mr. Bradlee’s tactics were also simple: “Hire people smarter than you are” and encourage them to bloom. His energy and his mystique were infectious.
Ebola The Toy
It sounds like another “Only in America” story, but actually there’s a real and proper purpose. An American company specialises in making soft toys “based on the actual microscopic images of various microbes as an educational tool for caregivers and young children”.
About five years ago, the company began offering plush toys whose design was based on the microscopic image of the Ebola virus. Now, they are struggling to keep up with demand, Sullivan said.
While she declined to give specific sales figures for the Ebola plush toys, Sullivan said: “They’re selling like hot cakes. We’re out of stock again.”
The American Dream
One of the retirement plans of Ned and MrsDavy is to drive a Winnebago across America. And every night we’ll have coffee and pie at a diner.
Maybe we’ll bump into John Leavitt who’s penned a love letter to the True American Diner:
Without diners, where would outlaws stop to discuss bank robberies over coffee? Where would strippers go when they get off work? Where would covert agents talk about business with waffles or lovers arrange clandestine meetings? Without diners, are you even sure you’re in America?
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
Rugby League Four Nations – miserable meaningless nonsense.