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Sunday Morning Reading: March 23, 2014

By Martie Hevia | Blue Beach Song™

One of my great pleasures is waking up early on a Sunday morning, sitting in my favorite big comfy chair with a hot cappuccino and reading an eclectic collection of articles from all kinds of magazines and newspapers. (And if you can throw in some soft skies on a drizzly cool day, with a warm fire in the fireplace, I am in heaven.) Whatever your rituals may be, here is my Sunday morning’s reading list. I hope you find these articles informative, interesting or entertaining. Enjoy! -Martie

Sunday Morning Reading: March 23, 2014

(Click on the Article’s Title)

  • ‘Flat Stanley’ home after decade in soldier’s wallet” | by Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic via USA Today, March 23, 2014 | (Alan Orduna) along with other students in (Luella) Wood’s class, penned a note to accompany a paper cut-out modeled after the title character in the popular children’s book “Flat Stanley.” After being smashed by a bulletin board in his sleep, the book’s protagonist makes the most of his new 2-D state by mailing himself to friends. Wood asked her students to send their Stanley cut-outs to relatives or friends, who would then take them on a journey and detail the characters’ exploits in a letter back. Alan didn’t have a friend in mind — or at least not one who would take Stanley on an adventure worthy of a third-grader’s imagination. So, Wood sent Alan’s packet off to an Army unit stationed in Baghdad and asked Alan to wait. Ten years later, the Iraq veteran who carried Alan’s ‘Flat Stanley’ for a decade finally wrote back to Alan. “I know by now you are approaching the age when you will embark on your own journey,” Owens wrote. “Might I make a suggestion? “Pick up your adventures with Stanley where ours ended. Put him in your wallet,” he wrote. “You will undoubtedly face hard times. You will experience lows and uncertainty. But, whenever you feel despair or emptiness setting in, remember a saying I learned in the Army — ‘If you ever get to the point where it’s hopeless and nothing more can be done, you’ve overlooked something.’
  • NATO General Warns of Further Russian Aggression” | by Carol Morello, Griff Witte and Will Englund, The Washington Post, March 23, 2014 | NATO’s top military commander warned Sunday that Russia could seek to expand its territorial conquest to new areas, just a day after Russian forces seized some of the final Ukrainian military installations in the contested Crimean peninsula.
  • Teen Couple Struck by California Train: Tragedy Points to Growing Problem” | by Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, March 23, 2014 | A couple walking to a dance along railroad tracks in California were hit by a train, with Mateus Moore dying to save his girlfriend, Mickayla Friend. Pedestrian train accidents are rising nationwide.
  • Giraffe Bids Last Goodbye, Licks Dying Zoo Worker” (Photo) | by Associated Press, March 22, 2014 | A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years. The giraffe reached into the ambulance to give his former keeper a farewell lick.
  • Why Almost Everything Uou’ve Been Told About Unhealthy Foods is Wrong” | by Joanna Blythman, The Guardian, March 22, 2014 | Eggs and red meat have both been on the nutritional hit list – but after a major study last week dismissed a link between fats and heart disease, is it time for a complete rethink?
  • Russian Forces Take Over One of the Last Ukrainian Bases in Crimea” | by DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, PATRICK REEVELL and NOAH SNEIDER, The New York Times, March 22, 2014 | The operation to seize the base — one of the Ukrainian military’s last strongholds on the peninsula — was larger and more dramatic than at other installations where Ukrainian forces have capitulated steadily in recent days as Russia declared its formal annexation of the region.
  • U.S. Response to Ukraine Crisis Muddled by Years of Inattention” | by HANNAH ALLAM AND LESLEY CLARK MCCLATCHY, The Miami Herald, March 22, 2014 | Russia’s annexation of Crimea, made official on Friday, was either entirely predictable or a total surprise. Russian President Vladimir Putin is either a madman acting on impulse or a calculating architect rebuilding the Soviet Union. Ukraine’s new leaders might be democratic reformists or, as Putin prefers, “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites.” And the United States either wields tough sanctions tools that’ll isolate Moscow — or has so little influence over events that U.S. policy is outdated and irrelevant.
  • Mother’s storybook photos become viral sensation” | by Ameya Pendse, Flickr Blog, March 21, 2014 | The Russian photographer transports her viewers into a beautiful world that revolves around her two little sons and their adorable pets — scenes literally out of a storybook. Elena’s use of natural light, colors, and her enchanting rural surroundings have not only made her photography both cozy and heartwarming, but also has received around 50 million views on Flickr.
  • 5 Byproducts of Modern Life That Are Burying Us in Garbage” | by Eric Yosomono, J. Wisniewski, Ivan Farkas, and Hillery Alley, Cracked, March 21, 2014 | At the turn of the 20th century, major cities across the world were being quite literally buried in horse shit. Then along came a savior in the form of the automobile, but that prophet soon proved false when it ever so slowly suffocated us all with its foul, petroleum-induced flatulence. It seems that the never-ending cycle of human progress has a nasty side effect of constantly threatening to bury us all under a mountain of crap, and it’s certainly not over yet…
  • Microsoft just exposed email’s ugliest secret” | by Russell Brandom. The Verge, March 21, 2014 | For the vast majority of people, our email system is based on third-party access, whether it’s Microsoft, Google, Apple or whoever else you decide to trust. Our data is held on their servers, routed by their protocols, and they hold the keys to any encryption that protects it. The deal works because they’re providing important services, paying our server bills, and for the most part, we trust them. But this week’s Microsoft news has chipped away at that trust, and for many, it’s made us realize just how frightening the system is without it.
  • Paris Reborn and Destroyed” | by Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, March 20, 2014 | The Paris we know is shaded white and gray, a city of zinc roofs and pale stone façades fitted with iron balconies and crosshatched with whitewashed shutters. Its parks are laced with gravel paths that leave your shoes coated in a fine chalky film. In the blue hour of middle evening, just after the sun has set but before the light has finished draining from the streets, the roofs glow blue, sometimes so intensely that the blank walls below pick up the color and reflect it, giving the city a submerged quality, as if it had sunk quietly to the ocean floor. (Beautiful photos.)
  • Sins of the Fatcat” | by Andrew Cockburn, Harper’s Magazine, March 20, 2014 | Bob Ivry’s guide for tracking down the live villains and unburied bodies of the 2008 crash… The only interpretation the D.C. financial lobbying community could make of Dimon’s hysterical behavior was that they had done their work too well. “The banks have gotten absolutely everything they wanted, post-crash,” my lobbyist friend explained. The 2010 SAFE bill, through which Senators Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman attempted to break up the too-big-to-fails? Crushed like a bug in the Senate, 60–31. The Volcker Rule restricting banks from trading on their own account? Riddled with more loopholes than a yard of chicken wire. The Lincoln Amendment barring institutions from gambling with taxpayer-insured money? On its way out the door. “There really are no outstanding issues left for them to fight over,” my friend said, “so now even the semblance of defiance from any quarter is taken as a personal affront, and they move to crush it.”
  • Bernie Madoff Speaks: Politics, Remorse and Wall Street” | by MJ Lee, POLITICO, March 20, 2014 | From his office on the 17th floor of midtown Manhattan’s red enameled Lipstick Building, Bernard Madoff often handled billions of dollars in a single day. These days, at the medium-security prison here, the man convicted of orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history is forbidden from possessing even a handful of quarters… In an interview at Butner last week, Madoff weighed in with his latest views on everything from his favorite politicians to the ties between Washington and Wall Street to details about his life in prison and his severed relationships with family members.
  • The Overprotected Kid” | by Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, March 19, 2014 | A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution… It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting. One very thorough study of “children’s independent mobility,” conducted in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9 percent, and now it’s even lower.
  • What the Original Crimean War was All About” | by C.R., The Economist, March 18, 2014 | ON MARCH 16th Crimeans voted in a deeply flawed referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The crisis on the peninsula has pitted Russia against America and the EU, in the worst diplomatic spat in Europe since the cold war. But it is not the first time that Crimea, on the edge of the Black Sea, has been contested by Russia and the West. On March 28th 1854—160 years ago this month—Britain, the superpower of the day, declared war on Russia. The resulting conflict was mainly fought in Crimea as British forces and their allies laid siege to the main Russian naval base in the Black Sea at Sebastopol. What was the original Crimean war all about?
  • The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains” | by James Hamblin, The Atlantic, March 18, 2014| Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind.
  • Apple Designer Jonathan Ive Talks About Steve Jobs and New Products” | by John Arlidge, TIME, March 17, 2014 | Apple’s design chief helped transform computing, phones and music. The company’s secrecy and Ive’s modesty mean he has never given an in-depth interview — until now: We use Jonathan Ive’s products to help us to eat, drink and sleep, to work, travel, relax, read, listen and watch, to shop, chat, date and have sex. Many of us spend more time with his screens than with our families. Some of us like his screens more than our families. For years, Ive’s natural shyness, coupled with the secrecy bordering on paranoia of his employer, Apple, has meant we have known little about the man who shapes the future, with such innovations as the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. But last month, he invited me to Cupertino in Silicon Valley where Apple is based, for his first in-depth interview since he became head of design almost 20 years ago.
  • Why Weird Is The New Normal” | By Bruce Upbin, Forbes, March 17, 2014 | Weirdo is a vague word. Lazerow defines it as someone who is comfortable in his or her own skin. Someone who has conviction and will defend their ideas, often publicly, especially if they go against common beliefs. Weirdos are self-directed, self-motivated and fearless… Weirdos learn to listen to their gut. At the end of his talk Lazerow showed a venn diagram with three circles: Interests, Skill and Life Vision. Where those three intersect lays happiness. “It’s when you marry what you’re interested in with what you’re good at and how you think the world should be.” (Hmm… I’m a ‘weirdo’ by his definition.)

Happy reading and I hope you enjoy the articles. -Martie

Martie Hevia (c) 2014| All Rights Reserved

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