Jackie Kennedy: Queen of Camelot

Jackie Kennedy epitomized the youth and glamour of the Kennedy family.

 Remembered for her impeccable fashion sense, cosmopolitan lifestyle and repeated brushes with tragedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis captivated the American public both during and after her time in the White House.



The World's Most Mysterious Book

Deep inside Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library lies a 240 page tome. Recently carbon dated to around 1420, its pages feature looping handwriting and hand drawn images seemingly stolen from a dream. It is called the Voynich manuscript, and it’s one of history’s biggest unsolved mysteries. The reason why? No one can figure out what it says. Stephen Bax investigates this cryptic work.


The bat signal shines atop LA City Hall in honor of Adam West.

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The Bat-signal was displayed in tribute to West's portrayal of the "Bright Knight."


When Music Meets Nature ... Magic

The magic of music! 

Sometimes, animals amaze us. As this violinist stands in front of the glass at Acquario di Genova and starts to play the most beautiful audience in the world swims along to listen and watch. 


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R.I.P. Adam West

Long before the dark and heroic Batman became known to 21st century audiences, there was another style of Batman - a much more "square" Batman. Throughout the 1960's Adam West captured the hearts of many Batman lovers with his campy style, witty puns, and stone cold delivery. We held our breath with every incredible discovery, wordy verbiage, or life-long lesson taught to the Boy Wonder. The Batman we will always love is remembered in this montage, a collection of his best from the 1966 "Batman The Movie".


Why you should work 4 hours a day, according to science

 

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When you examine the lives of history's most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: They organized their lives around their work, but not their days.

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.

How did they manage to be so accomplished? If some of history's greatest figures didn't put in immensely long hours, maybe the key to unlocking the secret of their creativity lies in understanding not just how they labored but how they rested.

After his morning walk and breakfast, Charles Darwin was in his study by 8 a.m. and worked a steady hour and a half. At 9:30 he would read the morning mail and write letters. At 10:30, Darwin returned to more serious work, sometimes moving to his aviary or greenhouse to conduct experiments. By noon, he would declare, "I've done a good day's work," and set out on a long walk. When he returned after an hour or more, Darwin had lunch and answered more letters. At 3 p.m. he would retire for a nap; an hour later he would arise, take another walk, then return to his study until 5:30, when he would join his wife and family for dinner.

On this schedule he wrote 19 books, including technical volumes on climbing plants, barnacles, and other subjects; the controversial Descent of Man; and The Origin of Species, probably the single most famous book in the history of science.

But at the same time, his days don't seem very busy to us. If he had been a university professor today, he would have been denied tenure. If he'd been working in a company, he would have been fired within a week.

It's not that Darwin was careless or lacked ambition. He was intensely conscious of time and, despite being a gentleman of means, felt that he had none to waste.
But he managed something that seems increasingly alien today. His life was full and memorable, his work was prodigious, and yet his days were filled with downtime.

Darwin is not the only famous scientist who combined a lifelong dedication to science with apparently short working hours. We can see similar patterns in many others' careers, and it's worth starting with the lives of scientists for several reasons. Science is a competitive, all-consuming enterprise. Scientists' accomplishments — the number of articles and books they write, the awards they win, the rate at which their works are cited — are well-documented and easy to measure and compare. As a result, their legacies are often easier to determine than those of business leaders or other famous figures.

One example is Poincaré, the French mathematician whose public eminence and accomplishments placed him on a level similar to Darwin's. Poincaré's 30 books and 500 papers spanned number theory, topology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, theoretical and applied physics, and philosophy; he was involved in efforts to standardize time zones, supervised railway development in northern France, and was a professor at the Sorbonne.

Poincaré wasn't just famous among his fellow scientists: In 1895 he was, along with the novelist Émile Zola, sculptors Auguste Rodin and Jules Dalou, and composer Camille Saint-Saëns, the subject of a study by French psychiatrist Édouard Toulouse on the psychology of genius. Toulouse noted that Poincaré kept very regular hours. He did his hardest thinking between 10 a.m. and noon, and again between 5 and 7 in the afternoon. The 19th century's most towering mathematical genius worked just enough to get his mind around a problem — about four hours a day.

We see the same pattern among other noted mathematicians. G.H. Hardy, one of Britain's leading mathematicians in the first half of the 20th century, would start his day with a leisurely breakfast and close reading of the cricket scores, then from 9 to 1 would be immersed in mathematics. After lunch he would be out again, walking and playing tennis. "Four hours' creative work a day is about the limit for a mathematician," he told his friend and fellow Oxford professor C.P. Snow. Hardy's longtime collaborator John Edensor Littlewood believed that the "close concentration" required to do serious work meant that a mathematician could work "four hours a day or at most five, with breaks about every hour (for walks perhaps)."

A survey of scientists' working lives conducted in the early 1950s yielded results in a similar range. Illinois Institute of Technology psychology professors Raymond Van Zelst and Willard Kerr surveyed their colleagues about their work habits and schedules, then graphed the number of hours spent in the office against the number of articles they produced. You might expect that the result would be a straight line showing that the more hours scientists worked, the more articles they published. But it wasn't.

The data revealed an M-shaped curve. The curve rose steeply at first and peaked at between 10 to 20 hours per week. The curve then turned downward. Scientists who spent 25 hours in the workplace were no more productive than those who spent five. Scientists working 35 hours a week were half as productive as their 20-hours-a-week colleagues.

From there, the curve rose again, but more modestly. Researchers who buckled down and spent 50 hours per week in the lab were able to pull themselves out of the 35-hour valley: They became as productive as colleagues who spent five hours a week in the lab. Van Zelst and Kerr speculated that this 50-hour bump was concentrated in "physical research," and that most of those 10-hour days were spent tending machines and occasionally taking measurements.
After that, it was all downhill: The 60-plus-hour-a-week researchers were the least productive of all.

Karl Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Römer saw a similar pattern in a study of violin students at a conservatory in Berlin in the 1980s. Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer were interested in what sets outstanding students apart from merely good ones. After interviewing music students and their teachers and having students keep track of their time, they found that several things separated the best students from the rest.

First, the great students didn't just practice more than the average, they practiced more deliberately. During deliberate practice, Ericsson explained, you're "engaging with full concentration in a special activity to improve [your] performance." You're not just doing reps, lobbing balls, or playing scales.

Deliberate practice is focused, structured, and offers clear goals and feedback; it requires paying attention to what you're doing and observing how you can improve.

Second, you need a reason to keep at it, day after day. Deliberate practice isn't a lot of fun, and it's not immediately profitable. It means being in the pool before sunrise, working on your swing or stride when you could be hanging out with friends, spending hours perfecting details that only a few other people will ever notice. There's little that's inherently or immediately pleasurable in deliberate practice, so you need a strong sense that these long hours will pay off, and that you're not just improving your career prospects but also crafting a professional and personal identity. You don't just do it for the fat stacks.

Ericsson's study is a foundation for Malcolm Gladwell's argument (laid out most fully in his book Outliers) that 10,000 hours of practice are necessary to become world-class in anything, and that everyone from chess legend Bobby Fischer to Microsoft founder Bill Gates to the Beatles put in their 10,000 hours before anyone heard of them. For coaches, music teachers, and ambitious parents, the number promises a golden road to the NFL or Juilliard or MIT: Just start them young, keep them busy, and don't let them give up.

But there was something else that Ericsson and his colleagues noted in their study, something that almost everyone has overlooked. "Deliberate practice," they observed, "is an effortful activity that can be sustained only for a limited time each day." Practice too little and you never become world-class. Practice too much, though, and you increase the odds of being struck down by injury, draining yourself mentally, or burning out.

How do students marked for greatness make the most of limited practice time? The rhythm of their practice follows a distinctive pattern. They put in more hours per week, but they don't do it by making each practice longer. Instead, they have more frequent, shorter sessions, each lasting about 80 to 90 minutes, with half-hour breaks in between.

Add these several practices up, and what do you get? About four hours a day. About the same amount of time Darwin spent every day doing his hardest work and Hardy and Littlewood spent doing math.

This upper limit, Ericsson concluded, is defined "not by available time, but by available [mental and physical] resources for effortful practice." The students weren't just practicing four hours and calling it a day; lectures, rehearsals, homework, and other things kept them busy the rest of the day. In interviews, the students said "it was primarily their ability to sustain the concentration necessary for deliberate practice that limited their hours of practice." This is why it takes a decade to get Gladwell's 10,000 hours: If you can only sustain that level of concentrated practice for four hours a day, that works out to 20 hours a week (assuming weekends off), or 1,000 hours a year (assuming a two-week vacation).
Ericsson and his colleagues observed another thing, in addition to practicing more, that separated the great students at the Berlin conservatory from the good, something that has been almost completely ignored since: how they rested.
The top performers actually slept about an hour a day more than the average performers. They didn't sleep late. They got more sleep because they napped during the day. Of course there was lots of variability, but the best students generally followed a pattern of practicing hardest and longest in the morning, taking a nap in the afternoon, and then having a second practice in the late afternoon or evening.

For all the attention the Berlin conservatory study has received, this part of the top students' experiences — their sleep patterns, their attention to leisure, their cultivation of deliberate rest as a necessary complement of demanding, deliberate practice — goes unmentioned. In Outliers, Gladwell focuses on the number of hours exceptional performers practice and says nothing about the fact that those students also slept an hour more, on average, than their less accomplished peers, or that they took naps and long breaks.

This is not to say that Gladwell misread Ericsson's study; he just glossed over that part. And he has lots of company. Everybody speed-reads through the discussion of sleep and leisure and argues about the 10,000 hours.

This illustrates a blind spot that scientists, scholars, and almost all of us share: a tendency to fixate on focused work, to assume that the road to greater creativity is paved by life hacks, propped up by eccentric habits, or smoothed by Adderall or LSD. Those who research world-class performance look only at what students do in the gym or practice room. Everybody concentrates on the most obvious, measurable forms of work and tries to make those more productive. They don't ask whether there are other ways to improve performance and your life.
This is how we've come to believe that world-class performance comes after 10,000 hours of practice. But that's wrong. It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.


Adapted excerpt from Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Copyright © 2016. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

More Funny Yard Signs

Notice!

via: Ranker
They’re very proactive and simply just trying to nip things in the butt — literally.
via: Imgur
Hold me closer, tiny grasser…
On another note, I wonder just what tiny grass is dreaming about? Rain?

A Bucket 'O Water ...


A video showing desert critters secretly filmed approaching a water bucket to quench their thirst is going viral. We see different creatures, from bees, to chickens, to a donkey and a rabbit. The video was uploaded by John Wells from The Field Lab, a Southwest Texas alternative energy and sustainable living field laboratory.

“I was pleasantly surprised during the edit to see that George [the rabbit] made an appearance. I know him from all the other rabbits because of the tiny notch in his ear.” The guy was quick to add: “Note: The swimming bees were rescued.”

John Wells, who moved from New York to almost ‘the middle of nowhere’ to purchase an off-grid lifestyle, is already known in certain ecology-conscious circles for managing to build a modern house with solar energy and composting for just $1600. He might be far away from the city crowds, but, with such cute critters coming to visit, he surely doesn’t get a chance to feel alone.




News Theme by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...) Artist: http://incompetech.com/ Lau Tzu Ehru by Doug Maxwell used by permission from YouTube Audio Library.

Funniest Yard Signs

Just keep moving along…


via: Ranker
Seriously, unless you have cookies, your services are not needed here. Just move along.

via: Ego TV
One man’s crap is another man’s crap being sold in a garage sale a couple of years down the road.

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Talk to the Animals ...

Communicating with animals is almost like a superpower. We can communicate with domestic animals, but when it comes to other species, it seems quite impossible. But Anna Breytenbach is an exception. She is an interspecies communicator and claims that she can relay messages to animals. It seems farfetched, but the following video speaks for itself.

This video shows Anna communicating with a black leopard named Diablo. Diablo was the one cat that refrained from getting out of his enclosure. He snarled at anyone who walked by. After a while with Anna, she reported that he was angry because of his previous bad experiences with humans. After their session, there was a total change in his behavior. His handler was left in tears because of this!



His Holiness Pope Francis on Power and Humility

A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. "Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other." 


I feel you Ambassador Dermer ...

Watch Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer (right) facepalm while President Trump tells a room of Israeli officials in Jerusalem: "We just got back from the Middle East".

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Source: The Guardians of Democracy

More OWLS [via Nina Reznick]


 
Portrait of a screech owl. View original photo here

 
A Snowy Owl sits in the stubble of a corn field as snow falls near Macy, Indiana, on January 13, 2016. 

A brown owl is displayed for sale at an animal market in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 22, 2007. 


 
A snowy owl landing on January 25, 2009.

  
Elton the spectacled owl sits on a scale at London Zoo as the zookeepers weigh and measure the animals for their annual weigh-in in London on August 22, 2012


Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews



  • May you sell everything and retire to Florida just as global warming makes it uninhabitable.

  • May you live to a hundred and twenty without Social Security or Medicare.

  • May you make a fortune, and lose it all in one of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos.

  • May you live to a ripe old age, and may the only people who come visit you be Mormon missionaries.

  • May your son be elected President, and may you have no idea what you did with his goddamn birth certificate.

  • May your grandchildren baptize you after you’re dead.

  • May your insurance company decide constipation is a pre-existing condition.

  • May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was “legitimately” raped by Cossacks.

  • May you feast every day on chopped liver with onions, chicken soup with dumplings, baked carp with horseradish, braised meat with vegetable stew, latkes, and may every bite of it be contaminated with E. Coli, because the government gutted the E.P.A.

  • May you have a rare disease and need an operation that only one surgeon in the world, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, is able to perform. And may he be unable to perform it because he doesn’t take your insurance. And may that Nobel Laureate be your son.

  • May the state of Arizona expand their definition of “suspected illegal immigrants” to “anyone who doesn’t hunt.”

  • May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.


Ramblings and readings of Rabbi Aaron Spiegel



OWLS [via Nina Reznick]


Not Falcons (nor Patriots), these superb owls hail from Europe, Asia, North and South America, captured in photos both recent and more than a century old.
  • A white-faced owl photographed at the Photokina fair on September 21, 2010 in Cologne, Germany.
    EyesWideOpen / Getty

  • A burrowing owl stands on the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro during a practice session for the 2016 Summer Olympics on September 8, 2016. 
    Andrew Boyers / Reuters
  • A few snowflakes melt on the face of Cloudy, a snowy owl, during the cold blustery winter day at the Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, New York, on January 28, 2004. 
    David Duprey / AP

  • A female great horned owl on her nest, photographed in 2009. 
    Dennis Demcheck / U.S.G.S.


An owl in flight. View original photo here
CC BY Geoff Sloan