Photo Night: CHEYENNE

Photo night. Have fun. Her name is Cheyenne and she’s a 9-year-old yellow lab.

She has a vast vocabulary and knows the names of most of the parts of her body.   ~5700

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Job Interviews: New Trends in Interviewing

by Joyce Lain Kennedy
Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cut out the loyalty oath

Excerpts taken from Job Interview for Dummies

Excerpts taken from Job Interview for Dummies

Answers to certain questions are pretty much the same year after year, but watch out for one humdinger requiring a new response: Why do you want to work here? The old “I’m looking for a home and I’ll be loyal to you forever” statements don’t play as well as they once did.

Companies typically no longer expect that you will stay with them forever — nor do they want you to. They may not even want to see your face a year from now. Doing the math, managements don’t want to have to deal with high health insurance and pension costs. Many employers now solicit contract employees — no muss, no fuss in getting them out the door when a project’s finished, or when a decision is made to outsource the work.

Rather than pledge eternal fidelity, talk about your desire to do the work. Talk about how you are driven to funnel substantial amounts of productivity into the job quickly. Talk about wanting to use your superior technology skills. Talk about your interest in work that excites you, work that matters. Talk about work that — with its combination of work-life balance and stimulating tasks — is too tempting to pass by.

But fidelity? Pass on that as a theme song; it won’t make the charts.

Revisit the dramatic pause

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On the Radar: Emerging Designers

When fashion and style is kept simple with clean lines and good fabric, I ‘m interested, but even that colorful flounce by Mara Hoffman is something I would have worn back in my youth.  ~5700

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By Elva Ramirez / Wall Street Journal: Style
October 9, 2009, 6:01 PM ET

The big names at fashion week tend to get the lion’s share of attention. But the majority of the fashion industry is comprised of dozens and dozens of lesser-known designers trying to get a stitch closer to label recognition. Here are a few emerging talents to look for in a store near you.

Christian Cota

    Courtesy Christian Cota     Christian Cota Spring 2010

Courtesy Christian Cota Christian Cota Spring 2010

Cota’s florals and layered designs are a recent addition to Saks Fifth Avenue’s third floor at its New York flagship.

“The response has already been incredible, especially with our younger customer looking for an entry point into designer [clothes],” says Saks president and chief merchandising officer Ron Frasch. “The collection excels because of Christian’s use of novelty prints and the construction of the silhouettes and pieces that balance elegance and detail.”

For Spring 2010, Cota showed a collection full of flowers. “I’ve never been a floral person but this season I really wanted to capture beauty itself,” Cota says. “It was about the flower being broken up, and then re-sewn together almost like a garment.”

His textiles this season included a cage-like lace made by stitching ribbons onto fabric, then melting the fabric away (but leaving an intricately coiled pattern behind). Another dress uses a similar technique, where the topmost layer of a stacked fabric is gently burned away to form a pattern out of small holes that reveal colorful silk beneath. But concepts will only go so far: “No matter how many concepts I have, at the end I make sure it’s something a woman would love to wear,” he says.

Mara Hoffman

    Courtesy Mara Hoffman     Mara Hoffman Spring 2010

Courtesy Mara Hoffman Mara Hoffman Spring 2010

Hoffman is quickly establishing herself as a designer with a flair for prints. Her breezy multi-culti look is balanced by a sophisticated use of prints, and buyers have taken note — her designs have recently been picked up by Bloomingdales and Intermix.

“The color palettes are one of a kind –  you can’t find them anywhere else,” says Shopbop.com buyer Jane Albiter.

For example, in Hoffman’s Spring 2010 collection, a rainbow-print fabric is cut into strips and braided into a seam on a dress bodice, which re-jiggers the color composition as well as adds a construction element.

The new collection’s signature is ethereal and dreamy but “juxtaposed with construction and geometry,”  Hoffman says. “There’s definitely a hippy vibe but it’s futuristic hippy.”

Shannon Carney

$650 medium collar resin necklace from Shannon Carney

$650 medium collar resin necklace from Shannon Carney

Jewelry designer Shannon Carney is still considered emerging, but probably not for long. She garnered a short profile in Vogue’s very important September issue (the 2009 edition, not the film version) and one of her resin and gold rings was featured prominently in an April Elle spread.

“Shannon hand pours and colors each piece by hand, attaching the pieces with 18-karat gold,” says Karen Daskas, owner of Tender, a luxury boutique in Michigan.  “The necklaces and earrings are lightweight and Shannon’s sense of color is amazing.”

“My clients will be attracted to this upcoming addition to Tender for its freshness and color range,” Daskas added. “Collections like Shannon’s give people a reason to buy.”

Spurr

    Spurr Spring 2010

Spurr Spring 2010

Designer Simon Spurr notched heavy-duty design menswear cred by working with Hedi Slimane, and doing stints as design director at CK menswear,  Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Ralph Lauren Black Label Men’s. He launched his signature line,  Spurr, in fall 2006 and is in Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s.

“He’s really emerging as one the best new menswear designers,” says Kevin Harter, vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s. “I think he has the potential of beng a huge breakout star.”

The Spurr touch is recognizable by classic, accessible design, luxurious fabrics and masculine styling.  “His designs are ageless,” Harter says. “He would attract a younger guy that wants to look really cool with his outerwear, and then he does beautiful tailored clothing that you could wear to the office.”

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Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

I remember the day not so long ago when the Fax was the new-fangled gadget that could receive a written message in Tuskaloosa and send it printed out to Honolulu in ten seconds. Since then, technology has grown so much and so fast that I no longer am surprised by the progress that man’s inventive mind has made. ~5700

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By MICHAEL TOTTY / Wall St. Journal: Business

OCTOBER 19, 2009

(See Corrections & Amplification below.)

It’s a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required.

What might those breakthroughs be? Here’s a look at five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture.

They present enormous opportunities. The ability to tap power from space, for instance, could jump-start whole new industries. Technology that can trap and store carbon dioxide from coal-fired plants would rejuvenate older ones.

The Journal Report

See the complete Energy report.

Success isn’t assured, of course. The technologies present difficult engineering challenges, and some require big scientific leaps in lab-created materials or genetically modified plants. And innovations have to be delivered at a cost that doesn’t make energy much more expensive. If all of that can be done, any one of these technologies could be a game-changer.

SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER

For more than three decades, visionaries have imagined tapping solar power where the sun always shines—in space. If we could place giant solar panels in orbit around the Earth, and beam even a fraction of the available energy back to Earth, they could deliver nonstop electricity to any place on the planet.

[ey_solar] Source: New ScientistSunlight is reflected off giant orbiting mirrors to an array of photovoltaic cells; the light is converted to electricity and then changed into microwaves, which are beamed to earth. Ground-based antennas capture the microwave energy and convert it back to electricity, which is sent to the grid.

The technology may sound like science fiction, but it’s simple: Solar panels in orbit about 22,000 miles up beam energy in the form of microwaves to earth, where it’s turned into electricity and plugged into the grid. (The low-powered beams are considered safe.) A ground receiving station a mile in diameter could deliver about 1,000 megawatts—enough to power on average about 1,000 U.S. homes.

The cost of sending solar collectors into space is the biggest obstacle, so it’s necessary to design a system lightweight enough to require only a few launches. A handful of countries and companies aim to deliver space-based power as early as a decade from now.

ADVANCED CAR BATTERIES

Electrifying vehicles could slash petroleum use and help clean the air (if electric power shifts to low-carbon fuels like wind or nuclear). But it’s going to take better batteries.

[ey_battery] Source: EDSRCIn a lithium-air battery, oxygen flows through a porous carbon cathode and combines with lithium ions from a lithium-metal anode in the presence of an electrolyte, producing an electric charge. The reaction is aided by a catalyst, such as manganese oxide, to improve capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries, common in laptops, are favored for next-generation plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. They’re more powerful than other auto batteries, but they’re expensive and still don’t go far on a charge; the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid coming next year, can run about 40 miles on batteries alone. Ideally, electric cars will get closer to 400 miles on a charge. While improvements are possible, lithium-ion’s potential is limited.

One alternative, lithium-air, promises 10 times the performance of lithium-ion batteries and could deliver about the same amount of energy, pound for pound, as gasoline. A lithium-air battery pulls oxygen from the air for its charge, so the device can be smaller and more lightweight. A handful of labs are working on the technology, but scientists think that without a breakthrough they could be a decade away from commercialization.

UTILITY STORAGE

Everybody’s rooting for wind and solar power. How could you not? But wind and solar are use-it-or-lose-it resources. To make any kind of difference, they need better storage.

[ey_store] Source: AEPBattery packs located close to customers can store electricity from renewable wind or solar sources and supply power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Energy is collected in the storage units and can be sent as needed directly to homes or businesses or out to the grid.

Scientists are attacking the problem from a host of angles—all of which are still problematic. One, for instance, uses power produced when the wind is blowing to compress air in underground chambers; the air is fed into gas-fired turbines to make them run more efficiently. One of the obstacles: finding big, usable, underground caverns.

Similarly, giant batteries can absorb wind energy for later use, but some existing technologies are expensive, and others aren’t very efficient. While researchers are looking at new materials to improve performance, giant technical leaps aren’t likely.

Lithium-ion technology may hold the greatest promise for grid storage, where it doesn’t have as many limitations as for autos. As performance improves and prices come down, utilities could distribute small, powerful lithium-ion batteries around the edge of the grid, closer to customers. There, they could store excess power from renewables and help smooth small fluctuations in power, making the grid more efficient and reducing the need for backup fossil-fuel plants. And utilities can piggy-back on research efforts for vehicle batteries.

UTILITY STORAGE

Keeping coal as an abundant source of power means slashing the amount of carbon dioxide it produces. That could mean new, more efficient power plants. But trapping C02 from existing plants—about two billion tons a year—would be the real game-changer.

[ey_carbon] Source: VattenfallCarbon dioxide is removed from smokestack gases and compressed. It’s then pumped deep underground and stored in porous rock formations.

Techniques for modest-scale CO2 capture exist, but applying them to big power plants would reduce the plants’ output by a third and double the cost of producing power. So scientists are looking into experimental technologies that could cut emissions by 90% while limiting cost increases.

Nearly all are in the early stages, and it’s too early to tell which method will win out. One promising technique burns coal and purified oxygen in the form of a metal oxide, rather than air; this produces an easier-to-capture concentrated stream of CO2 with little loss of plant efficiency. The technology has been demonstrated in small-scale pilots, and will be tried in a one-megawatt test plant next year. But it might not be ready for commercial use until 2020.

NEXT-GENERATION BIOFUELS

One way to wean ourselves from oil is to come up with renewable sources of transportation fuel. That means a new generation of biofuels made from nonfood crops.

Researchers are devising ways to turn lumber and crop wastes, garbage and inedible perennials like switchgrass into competitively priced fuels. But the most promising next-generation biofuel comes from algae.

[ey_biofuel] Source: SaferenviromentAlgae grow by taking in CO2, solar energy and other nutrients. They produce an oil that can be extracted and added into existing refining plants to make diesel, gasoline substitutes and other products.

Algae grow fast, consume carbon dioxide and can generate more than 5,000 gallons a year per acre of biofuel, compared with 350 gallons a year for corn-based ethanol. Algae-based fuel can be added directly into existing refining and distribution systems; in theory, the U.S. could produce enough of it to meet all of the nation’s transportation needs.

But it’s early. Dozens of companies have begun pilot projects and small-scale production. But producing algae biofuels in quantity means finding reliable sources of inexpensive nutrients and water, managing pathogens that could reduce yield, and developing and cultivating the most productive algae strains.

Corrections & Amplifications

One thousand megawatts are enough to power on average about one million U.S. homes. This article on space-based solar power incorrectly said 1,000 megawatts could power about 1,000 homes.

— Mr. Totty is a news editor for The Journal Report in San Francisco. He can be reached at michael.totty@wsj.com .

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From a Primitive Present

By MELIK KAYLAN / Wall Street Journal

New York

Imagine that you could travel back in time to meet a Stone Age hunter-gatherer, that you could hand him a paintbrush and ask him to paint something on a board or canvas—not warpaint on his body or daubings on a cave, but a proper picture, one that gave us a glimpse of his inner landscape and his aesthetic universe. This is precisely what happened at Papunya in 1972 near the remote outpost of Alice Springs in the heart of the Australian outback. The products of that early encounter gave rise to the internationally celebrated phenomenon of Aboriginal art, an école of sorts, that we all recognize today. Many of those seminal paintings are now in “Icons of the Desert” at the Grey Art Gallery of New York University. The show, dedicated to those early years, is composed of works from the private collection of John Wilkerson, former president of the American Folk Art Museum, and his wife.

The Grey Art Gallery, New York UniversitySee more works that are on display at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University

The Grey Art Gallery, New York University  See more works that are on display at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University

The Grey Art Gallery, New York University See more works that are on display at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University

How to look at Aboriginal painting? If we knew nothing else, the sheer joyous vitality of the images themselves—with their dot-pattern chiaroscuros, elemental colors and buzzing lines—would amply satisfy the eye. But as the exhibition shows us, there’s a great deal more to know, a host of backstories that deepen and illuminate our sense of the art—and often leave us baffled by its mysteries. The paintings themselves are full of embedded narratives connected to the Dreaming, the Aboriginal genesis mythology—itself a series of disparate narratives, as most genesis mythologies are.

Then there’s the genesis backstory of how the art form was born, a pivotal moment of Australian social history when blacks and whites first tentatively bonded through art. The show features videos chronicling the story of the groundbreaking Papunya painters and their “whitefella” mentor, the now-famous Geoffrey Bardon (1940-2003), who acted as midwife to their talent in the early 1970s. Bardon’s own life reads like a moral fable: A sensitive schoolteacher and art student, a pioneer spirit, he befriended the Aboriginals, supplied them with materials, encouragement and funding despite resistance from his own kind, and finally suffered a nervous breakdown for his exertions.

Many of the show’s paintings have attained iconic status in Australian popular culture. Works such as Shorty Lungkarta’s “Tingarri Ceremony,” with its multicolored vorticist whorls, and his more austere “Children’s Water Dreaming” lay out the basic codes of the art form. In the latter a concentric circle at the core links to similar circles through black lines, and the entirety forms a kind of memory map of waterholes connected by rivulets from the artist’s region. A black cross-cum-stick-figure on the upper left is part of a ceremonial object, according to Prof. Fred Myers, a consultant to the show who lived with the Papunya artists in the 1970s as a young anthropology student. Sacred objects feature regularly in Aboriginal painting but are often considered taboo and need to be disguised.

Perhaps the show’s masterpiece, its most renowned painting according to Prof. Myers, is the intricately webbed and dotted “Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa” by Johnny Warangkula. Complicated and beautiful, the painting creates a line-and-dot pulse effect common to the genre that Prof. Myers compares to the effect of firelight on painted bodies during ceremonial dances. In this and in paintings that give off similar optical illusions, such as Cifford Possum’s “Women Dreaming About Bush Tucker,” the artists show how “ancestral beings, in their creation of the landscape, entered the ground and traveled beneath its surface before emerging elsewhere,” Prof. Myers says.

To the Western eye the visual patterns often seem oddly familiar, and one wonders if any mutual exposure occurred between Papunya painters and, say, Paul Klee or Jean-Michel Basquiat. No one has proved any such cross-pollination yet; certainly the Papunya artists had no access to foreign images at that time, and Paul Klee, at least, came and went too soon. One is left with the baffling conclusion that the poetic déjà vu sensation sparked by works such as Mick Namarrari’s “Big Cave Dreaming” and Uta Uta Tjangala’s “Medicine Story” is an accident. Perhaps the works simply remind us that our species shares a limited range of coherent visual motifs and that disparate cultures can stumble on them independently.

The Grey Art Gallery, New York University  Shorty Lungkarta, 'Children's Water Dreaming' (1972)

The Grey Art Gallery, New York University Shorty Lungkarta, 'Children's Water Dreaming' (1972)

A lot remains mysterious in the genre, not least because Aussie whites and Aboriginals at its inception could barely understand each others’ languages. Deepening the mysteries are the confusing codes of taboo and secrecy that the artists suspended temporarily during the first paintings and reimposed soon after. Some customs of the aborigines seem distasteful to Westerners, such as the exclusion of women and children from adult male power rituals. Breaking such taboos can still be punished by tribes with death or excommunication or spearing.

As a result, the exhibition even has a secluded lower floor with a vivid culture-clash backstory. The paintings displayed there, when conceived, had revealed a great deal of the artists’ sacred ceremonies. The artists originally thought only the Aussie white man would see the art—which they didn’t mind. We, too, are free to see them—but, to this day, women and children from the artists’ tribes may not. For this reason, the exhibition catalog includes a detachable insert of those works, which gets removed from any copies sold in Australia. On the lower floor, Mr. Possum’s “Emu Corroboree Man,” for example, looks like a graphic guide to animist rituals and the use of sacred objects. One could compare the phenomenon to the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Athens or the Villa of Dionysian frescoes in Pompeii, which were secret in their time and still remain suggestively opaque to us.

Click here for SLIDESHOW.

In looking at Aboriginal art, we are, after all, looking back at our species in a more primitive state, though it sounds politically incorrect to say so. The asymmetries between the sexes, the guarding of male power with secrecy, the tribally enforced segregation and the like should not detract from our enjoyment of the art. Such things do present a painful quandary to strict multiculturalists who would like all genders and cultures to be interchangeably equal when, alas, many of their favored subcultures don’t see things that way. But for the rest of us, the show offers a chance to enjoy a glimpse of how, eons ago, in an ancient landscape, our species was able to find patterns of beauty in nature.

—Mr. Kaylan, a columnist for Forbes, writes on culture and the arts for the Journal.

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Balloon Boy’s mom gets lawyered up

By NOELLE LEAVITT and CHUCK BENNETT

Last Updated: 11:26 AM, October 21, 2009

Posted: 5:06 AM, October 21, 2009

Mayume Heene, Balloon Boy's mom

REUTERS Mayumi Heene, with her sons Bradford, center and Ryan, right.

Balloon Boy’s mom, Mayumi Heene, hired her own lawyer — as a friend described her as a “slave” to an abusive husband.

The lawyer, Lee Christian, met with Mayumi yesterday, then attempted to downplay speculation that her client is about to sell out her reality TV-obsessed hubby Richard Heene.

“I don’t do divorces,” Christian told The Post. “I do criminal defense.”

Mayumi, 45, and Richard, 48, duped the world into believing their six-year-old son Falcon was floating away on a homemade balloon. Probers believe the couple, featured on the ABC show “Wife Swap,” hatched the bizarre plot to score their own reality series.

They are expected to be hit with felony conspiracy charges next week as the Federal Aviation Administration weighs civil penalties that up to $2 million.

Falcon Heene

Falcon Heene

Mayumi has displayed a tough persona on TV. But her pal, Barbara Slusser, told ABC, “Whatever [her husband] says, goes. She’s basically a slave. He kept her isolated and separated from everyone else.”

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Meet future woman: shorter, plumper, more fertile

20:00 19 October 2009 by Bob Holmes / NewScientist.com

Women of the future are likely to be slightly shorter and plumper, have healthier hearts and longer reproductive windows. These changes are predicted by the strongest proof to date that humans are still evolving.

all, slim, and soon to be a museum piece (Image: Hugh Kretschmer / Stone + / Getty)

all, slim, and soon to be a museum piece (Image: Hugh Kretschmer / Stone + / Getty)

Medical advances mean that many people who once would have died young now live to a ripe old age. This has led to a belief that natural selection no longer affects humans and, therefore, that we have stopped evolving.

“That’s just plain false,” says Stephen Stearns, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University. He says although differences in survival may no longer select “fitter” humans and their genes, differences in reproduction still can. The question is whether women who have more children have distinguishing traits which they pass on to their offspring.

To find out, Stearns and his colleagues turned to data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has tracked the medical histories of more than 14,000 residents of the town of Framingham, Massachusetts, since 1948 – spanning three generations in some families.

Pass it on

The team studied 2238 women who had passed menopause and so completed their reproductive lives. For this group, Stearns’s team tested whether a woman’s height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol or other traits correlated with the number of children she had borne. They controlled for changes due to social and cultural factors to calculate how strongly natural selection is shaping these traits.

Quite a lot, it turns out. Shorter, heavier women tended to have more children, on average, than taller, lighter ones. Women with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels likewise reared more children, and – not surprisingly – so did women who had their first child at a younger age or who entered menopause later. Strikingly, these traits were passed on to their daughters, who in turn also had more children.

If these trends continue for 10 generations, Stearns calculates, the average woman in 2409 will be 2 centimetres shorter and 1 kilogram heavier than she is today. She will bear her first child about 5 months earlier and enter menopause 10 months later (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906199106).

Decoding culture

It’s hard to say what is selecting for these traits, and to discern whether they are being passed down through the women’s genes, but because Stearns controlled for many social and cultural factors, it is likely that his results document genetic, rather than cultural evolution at work.

It is not the first study to conclude that natural selection is operating on humans today; the difference is that much of the earlier work has drawn that conclusion from geographic differences in gene frequencies, rather than from direct measurements of reproductive success. That leaves Stearns’s study as perhaps the most detailed measure of evolution in humans today.

“It’s interesting that the underlying biological framework is still detectable beneath the culture,” he says. Analyses of other long-term medical data sets could shed more light on the interplay between genetics and culture.

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