Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A 'Night Guy': President Obama Is Used to Long Hours in the Office and Lack of Sleep

The piece "Obama After Dark: The Precious Hours Alone" in The New York Times, gives you a small glimpse into the demanding work that is required by a sitting president, where long hours in the office and lack of sleep seem to be something ordinary.

There is time, too, for fantasy about what life would be like outside the White House. Mr. Emanuel, who is now the mayor of Chicago but remains close to the president, said he and Mr. Obama once imagined moving to Hawaii to open a T-shirt shack that sold only one size (medium) and one color (white). Their dream was that they would no longer have to make decisions.

During difficult White House meetings when no good decision seemed possible, Mr. Emanuel would sometimes turn to Mr. Obama and say, "White." Mr. Obama would in turn say, "Medium."

Now Mr. Obama, who has six months left of solitary late nights in the Treaty Room, seems to be looking toward the end. Once he is out of the White House, he said in March at an Easter prayer breakfast in the State Dining Room, "I am going to take three, four months where I just sleep."

Image credit: Photography by Callie Shell.

Hedge Fund Manager Ray Dalio In Conversation About Leadership and Transcendental Meditation

In this interview conducted by Laurence Freeman, director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, hedge fund manager Ray Dalio talks about the importance and the many benefits of his daily practice of Transcendental Meditation and how it can enhance both creativity and productivity in the workplace, along with better leadership and a much nicer working atmosphere.

Argentine Professional Footballer Lionel Messi Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Tax Fraud

Today, a Spanish court sentenced Argentine footballer Lionel Messi to 21 months in prison for tax fraud.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner and his father Jorge were handed the same sentence by a Spanish court, but it is understood that neither will serve time behind bars.

Under Spanish law, sentences less than two years can be suspended, so it is likely that Messi will remain out of jail unless he repeats the offence.

Featured image: Messi leaves court in Barcelona after testifying. Via Sky Sports.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dashuhua: Chinese Fireworks Created by Molten Iron

Dashuhua is a 500 year-old tradition practiced by blacksmiths in the Chinese village Nuanquan, in which molten iron is thrown against a city wall, resulting in a beautiful show of sparkling lights.

The tradition started when blacksmiths found the sparks to be beautiful and to be a good alternative for the city's poor families who couldn't afford fireworks and firecrackers, but instead could contribute with scrap iron.

Filmmaker and journalist Max Duncan writes:

Poor blacksmiths in the town of Nuanquan, in Hebei's Yu county, found that if they hurled molten iron at the old city wall, it exploded in a shower of sparks in the cold night air. They donned sheepskins and straw hats to protect themselves, and used spoons made of hard willow wood to hurl the iron.

The practice, which produced showers of sparks like a leafy tree canopy, came to be known as dashuhua (打树花), which roughly translates as "throwing tree fireworks."

While the rich bought expensive fireworks and firecrackers for the Lunar New Year, the poor pooled scrap iron to give the blacksmiths, and the performance became the centrepiece of the community's celebrations.

Via Holy Kaw.

The Documentary '' (2001): Behind-the-scenes Footage From the Building of a Tech Start-up

The documentary "" (2001) gives an interesting behind-the-scenes look that depicts the hard work involved in building the dot-com startup company Govworks (govWorks), founded by high-school friends Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Harman in 1998.

Govworks sought to provide citizens with a service that enabled them to manage city services online such as paying traffic tickets. The company raised $60 million in venture capital during its three years of operations, until it was affected negatively by the 2000 dot-com bubble and went bankrupt.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

'Canada – The True North': Breathtaking Drone Footage of the Canadian Landscape

Presented by Man And Drone, drone footage of the magnificent and breathtaking landscapes of British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon.

Sweden Hills: The Japanese Village That Looks Like a Swedish Town

In Japan, located on the island of Hokkaido near the town Tobetsu, there's a village called Sweden Hills that doesn't remind you of a typical and traditional Japanese community. Instead, it shares similarities with a Swedish town called Leksand in the northern part of Sweden.

Tucked up in the hills about 30 km (19 miles) away from Sapporo City, Japan, there is a small village called Sweden Hills. Stepping foot into this distinct Swedish-style town located in Tōbetsu, on Hokkaido Island, one is transported out of Japan and straight into another country. The town specializes in all things Swedish: from folk crafts and traditional Swedish holidays to the characteristic red and white European architecture, it is enough to draw Swedish tourists from far and wide to a little chunk of their homeland.

Despite being nearly 8,000 km (5,000 miles) away from Sweden, this little town in Japan has adopted many of the nation's customs, earning itself a sister city. (A sister city or twin town is a legal agreement struck between countries to promote cultural and commercial ties.) The town’s sister city is named Leksand in Dalarna County, Sweden which may have something to do with the related atmosphere that can be found in Sweden Hills.

This budding relationship between the two towns and nations actually began over 30 years ago. Planning for Sweden Hills started in 1979, when a Swedish Ambassador visited the area and was struck by how similar it was to his home country. Construction on the city commenced in 1984 and, as of 2005, there were 550 residents reported to have called this quirky little village their home.

Image credit: Via

'Creativity, Performance and Stress': Transcendental Meditation at the Workplace Presented by the David Lynch Foundation

Arranged by the David Lynch Foundation at The New York Town Hall on February 11, 2014, the event "Creativity, Performance and Stress" dealt with the benefits of using Transcendental Meditation at the workplace and in daily life.

Moderated by journalist and author Andrew Ross Sorkin, and the host of "CNBC Squawk Box", the evening included talks and discussions with the following experts:

  • Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates
  • Dr. Mehmet Oz, Host of the "Dr. Oz Show"
  • Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group
  • Mario Batali, chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality
  • Dr. Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, Host of "Could You Survive?", "Discovery Health TV"
  • Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, PhD, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
  • Dr. Norman Rosenthal, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University
  • Leslie Seymour, Editor-in-Chief of "MORE" magazine

Here are part two and part three.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Donald Trump Gave Actor Charlie Sheen Fake Platinum and Diamond Cufflinks as Early Wedding Gift

When actor Charlie Sheen was a guest on The Graham Norton Show, he told about the moment when Donald Trump gave Sheen and his former wife Brooke Mueller an early wedding gift – platinum and diamond cufflinks by Harry Winston – that turned out to be fake six months later upon closer examination.

Six months later, Sheen says he got a jewellery appraiser to take a closer look at the cufflinks.

"She took the loupe, spent about four seconds and kind of recoiled from it - much like people do from Trump," he said. "She says, 'In their finest moment, this is cheap pewter and bad zirconias.' And they're stamped 'Trump.'

"I just thought, what does this really say about the man that he said, 'Here's a great wedding gift,' and it's just a bag of dog s**t?"

Project 'Calorie Brands': How Popular Food Products Would Look Like with Calorie Count Clearly Stated

Calorie Brands is the name of a project and Tumblr page that makes consumers aware about the high intake of calories in some popular foods and snacks. By incorporating the calories amount as a visual design element on the package design, the project delivers a powerful message regarding our health.

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