Paul Krugman: Twin Peaks Planet (NY Times)
Our current global setup isn't working for everyone. What consequences from that are ahead if we don't do something about it?
Jonathan Romney: "Insomnia: Unbearable Lightness" (Criterion)
The 1997 Norwegian detective thriller Insomnia is a paradoxical object-as director and cowriter Erik Skjoldbjærg has described it, "a reversed film noir with light, not darkness, as its dramatic force." Insomnia is so drenched in light that you could call it a film blanc-blanc meaning "white" but also "blank," given the film's detached chill, as opaque as the features of its policeman antihero.
Marina Hyde: Childbirth is as awful as it is magical, thanks to our postnatal 'care' (Guardian)
Giving birth in hospital these days is a hallucinatorily exhausting experience - and the cuts mean it's about to get even worse.
Oliver Burkeman: 'Detoxing' has been debunked. Maybe it's time to debunk that (Guardian)
We live in an age when disagreeing with something too often means we declare it absolutely wrong.
Lucy Mangan: The future of Britain's libraries: why lattes and Wi-Fi are nothing to fear (Guardian)
Few victims of austerity have been so fiercely mourned as libraries. If they are to be revived, a recent report argues, they must look down the High Street to Starbucks. Can that approach change a writer's beloved childhood sanctuary for the better?
Jake Hinkson: "Helen Holmes: The Girl at the Switch"
A century before Jennifer Lawrence was slinging arrows as Katniss Everdeen, Helen Holmes invented the female action hero. So why have you never heard of her?
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has approximately 50 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
speaking of free fall----or is it tree fall?
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and colder.
Net Neutrality Vote Next Month
Federal regulators are expected to vote next month on rules to govern how Internet service providers deal with the flow of content on their high-speed networks.
The five-member Federal Communications Commission will consider then a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler on so-called net neutrality rules, agency spokeswoman Kim Hart said Friday. She was confirming reports in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on the planned timing of the vote. Details of the draft proposal weren't disclosed.
President Barack Obama has asked the FCC to put Internet service providers under the same rules as those imposed on telephone companies 80 years ago. The aim is to protect net neutrality, the concept that everyone with an Internet connection should have equal access to all legal content online, including video, music, email, photos, social networks and maps.
The idea was a fundamental tenet of the Internet from its origin. But its fate has been in limbo since January 2014, when a federal appeals court struck down the FCC's guidelines and forced the agency to come up with new rules. The court ruling said the FCC has the authority to regulate service providers' treatment of Internet traffic but that the agency failed to establish that its regulations don't overreach.
Journalists Face More Jail Time
Three Al-Jazeera journalists faced Friday the prospect of at least several more weeks in Egyptian prison, with two of them awaiting a decision on whether they can be deported, lawyers and relatives said.
Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were detained in December 2013 for spreading false information and accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.
Greste's lawyer said he had submitted a request to have his client deported from Egypt under a new law signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
A similar demand has been made to deport Fahmy to Canada, according to his brother, while Mohamed's wife said she was looking at ways to get her husband out of Egypt.
Cathedral To Turn Out Lights
One of Germany's most famous landmarks, Cologne Cathedral, will be plunged into darkness on Monday evening in protest at a march by a growing grass-roots anti-Muslim movement through the western German city, cathedral authorities said.
The rise of the group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), has shaken Germany's political establishment, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to say in her New Year address that its leaders were racists full of hatred and citizens should beware being used.
PEGIDA's last weekly rally in the eastern city of Dresden attracted some 17,000 people, and the movement plans further marches in other cities, including through the center of Cologne on Monday night with a rally by the cathedral.
"PEGIDA is made up of an astonishingly broad mix of people, ranging from those in the middle of society to racists and the extreme right-wing," Cathedral Dean Norbert Feldhoff told Reuters.
"By switching off the floodlighting we want to make those on the march stop and think. It is a challenge: consider who you are marching alongside."
May Never Play Guitar Again
Bono says he now has a titanium elbow and may never play guitar again due to injuries suffered in a New York City cycling accident.
The 54-year-old U2 frontman suffered multiple injuries, including fractures to his left eye socket, shoulder blade and left elbow, when he crashed his bike in Central Park in November. He required hours of surgery after what doctors called a "high-energy bicycle accident."
On the band's website Thursday, Bono said the "recovery has been more difficult than I thought. As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again."
He added that his bandmates - The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen - "have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this."
Dog As Step Stool
Facebook photos posted by Sarah Palin (R-Quitter) showing her son Trig using the family dog as a step stool unleashed online fury on Friday reminiscent of the public reaction to the disclosure that Mitt Romney had once driven with his dog strapped on the car's roof.
Trig, 6, who has Down Syndrome, is shown stepping on the back of the family's black Labrador while it lies on the kitchen floor in order to reach the sink. The dog appears unruffled.
The Facebook post by Palin, who was the losing Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, drew more than 12,000 comments by midday Friday, ranging from cries of animal abuse to those seconding Palin's praise for the youngest of her five children.
Palin, a former half-term governor of Alaska, was the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008; McCain lost to President Barack Obama.
Ordered To Pay Charities
A judge has ordered a California lawyer to pay four prominent non-profit groups, including Doctors Without Borders, a total of $4.3 million for using "undue influence" in arranging to inherit money a client originally meant to leave for charity.
The ruling last week by San Diego Superior Court Judge William Nevitt capped a four-year fight over the estate of Siv Ljungwe, a retired California schoolteacher who, with her husband, had accumulated real estate worth millions of dollars.
The judgment against her San Diego-area lawyer, Carl Dimeff, is to be shared evenly by Doctors without Borders, the National Public Radio Foundation, the United Nations Children's Fund and the San Diego State University-based public television channel KPBS in accordance with Ljungwe's 2004 trust.
Dimeff told Reuters on Thursday he would appeal against the ruling, saying he did not know Ljungwe had shifted her assets to him until after her death. He said he distributed $400,000 to the charities while settling the estate.
Update Triggered Crash
Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp search engines temporarily went dark on Friday after Microsoft pushed out a bad code update and then struggled to roll it back, a person briefed on the outages told Reuters.
The outages were not caused by an outside attack, the person said, declining to be named because the discussion concerned internal Yahoo matters.
Microsoft's Bing search engine powers Yahoo search under a 10-year deal announced in 2009. Yahoo was not immediately available for comment. Microsoft confirmed the outage, but declined to comment on the cause.
On Friday afternoon, users who typed search.yahoo.com got an error message saying that Yahoo engineers were working to resolve the issue. The search engine appeared to be working again later in the day.
After the crash, Microsoft's roll-back procedure failed, forcing it to shut down its groups of linked servers to get back the point where everything worked smoothly, the person said.
Surveillance Cell Towers
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Law enforcement organizations around the country are desperate to keep the public unaware of the use of Stringrays, a surveillance technology that secretly monitors cell phones, even as courts and lawmakers are starting to fight back.
That's the conclusion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which tallied up a year's worth of public records requests by American media organizations, as well as court and legislative actions, related to the government's use of the technology, also known as IMSI catchers.
"We've long worried about the government's use of [Stingrays, which] masquerade as a legitimate cell phone tower, tricking phones nearby to connect to the device in order to track a phone's location in real time," the EFF wrote in a blog post today. "We're not just worried about how invasive these devices can be, but also that the government has been less than forthright with judges about how and when they use IMSI catchers. This year, the public learned just how desperately law enforcement wanted to keep details about Stingrays secret. … The results are shocking."
Stingrays became a big part of the public conversation this year. Last summer, as VentureBeat reported, the CEO of ESD America, which builds a highly secure phone for clients who demand military-grade security, revealed that in the course of testing their phone, the company discovered cell towers capable of intercepting calls and then handing them off to carriers' networks, a tool that allows the government to listen in or add spyware to mobile devices.
Made by the Harris Corporation, a Florida multinational, Stringrays are designed to obtain the cell number of people targeted in criminal or intelligence investigations and then mimic the nearest cell tower so that any calls from the target phone are routed through the device instead.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Seinfeld" may have been a show about nothing, but a psychiatry professor is using it for much more than that.
Medical students at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are learning about psychiatric disorders through Dr. Anthony Tobia's "Psy-feld" teaching tool, NJ.com reports.
Tobia has created a database of teaching points from all the show's episodes. Third- and fourth-year medical students are assigned to watch two episodes a week and then gather to discuss the psychopathology demonstrated on each.
"You have a very diverse group of personality traits that are maladaptive on the individual level," Tobia said. "When you get these friends together the dynamic is such that it literally creates a plot: Jerry's obsessive compulsive traits combined with Kramer's schizoid traits, with Elaine's inability to forge meaningful relationships and with George being egocentric."
Donna Douglas, who played the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies," has died.
Douglas died Thursday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, near her hometown of Zachary. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, said her niece, Charlene Smith. Douglas was 82.
She was best known for her role in "The Beverly Hillbillies," the CBS comedy about a backwoods Ozark family who moved to Beverly Hills after striking it rich from oil discovered on their land.
The series, which ran from 1962 to 1971, also starred the late Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan as well as Max Baer Jr., who turns 77 on Sunday.
Chosen from more than 500 other actresses, Douglas said she felt at ease playing the role because, like her character, she grew up a poor Southern tomboy. Her childhood in Pride, Louisiana, came in handy when she was asked during her audition to milk a goat.
Douglas' career began with beauty pageants - she was Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans - followed by a trip to New York to pursue a career in entertainment.
While modeling didn't appeal to her - "I didn't want to be that skinny" - television did. Douglas was featured as the Billboard Girl on "The Steve Allen Show" in 1959.
She landed a featured role in the 1959 film "Career," starring Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine, and a bit part in the film musical "Li'l Abner." She also had a small role as Tony Randall's secretary in the 1961 romantic comedy "Lover Come Back" with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.
Douglas starred in one of the most memorable episodes of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" - titled "Eye of the Beholder," it was the one in which her head is wrapped in bandages for most of the half-hour after plastic surgery aimed at fixing her "ugliness," which in fact was beauty in a universe of monsters. And she starred opposite Elvis Presley in the 1966 movie "Frankie and Johnny."
After "The Beverly Hillbillies," Douglas worked in real estate, recorded country and gospel music albums and wrote a book for children that drew on biblical themes.
Douglas was married twice, to Roland John Bourgeois, Jr. until 1954, and then to The Beverly Hillbillies director Robert M. Leeds. They divorced in 1980 after nine years of marriage. Survivors include her son, Danny P. Bourgeois.
Little Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens, a diminutive singer-songwriter known for his sense of humour and as the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. He was 94.
Dickens died Friday at a Nashville-area hospital of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day, Opry spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said.
Dickens, who stood 4-foot-11, had performed on the Opry almost continuously since 1948. His last performance was Dec. 20 as part of his birthday celebration. He sang "Out Behind The Barn" and delivered his trademark comedy. He had turned 94 a day earlier.
Country legend Hank Williams Sr. nicknamed him "Tater" based on Dickens' song "Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)."
His novelty songs, including his biggest hit "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" about good and bad luck, earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.
It crossed over from a country hit to become a hit on the pop charts - a rarity in those days - with its rollicking chorus: "May the bird of paradise fly up your nose; May an elephant caress you with its toes; May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose; May the bird of paradise fly up your nose."
The guitarist made more than a dozen trips to perform in Europe and entertained troops in Vietnam three times.
His other hits included "A-Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed," ''Out Behind the Barn," ''Country Boy" and "I'm Little But I'm Loud."
He is credited with introducing rhinestone suits to country music around 1950, taking a suggestion from Los Angeles clothing designer Nudie.
Dickens was born in Bolt, West Virginia, the 13th and youngest child in a coal-mining family. Coal mining was the main industry in his area, but it wasn't for him.
"I wouldn't have worked the mines. I wasn't large enough," he once said.
One of his first jobs was crowing like a rooster on a radio station in Beckley, West Virginia, to begin the station's broadcasting for the day.
Before becoming a nationally known country singer, he worked at radio stations in Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Topeka, Kansas; and Saginaw, Michigan.
He is survived by his wife, Mona, and two daughters.
Little Jimmy Dickens
Arkansas poet Miller Williams, a prolific writer and teacher who read a poem at President Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration, has died. He was 84.
Williams, the father of singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, died Thursday night at a hospital in Fayetteville of complications from Alzheimer's disease, family friend Linda Sheets said Friday. Williams was a longtime professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
He helped found the university's publishing arm, the University of Arkansas Press, in 1980, and directed it for almost 20 years. He has written, translated or edited more than 30 books, including a dozen poetry collections, according to the Poetry Foundation.
Clinton chose his friend to read his poem, "Of History and Hope," at the 1997 inauguration, making him just the third inaugural poet.
Williams, who had campaigned for Clinton's unsuccessful 1976 congressional bid, said in a 2013 interview that he wanted the poem to be a "consideration of how a look at a nation's past might help determine where it could be led in the future.
Lucinda Williams last year put one of her father's poems, "Compassion," to music as the lead cut on her latest album. Williams said her father had told her recently that Alzheimer's disease had robbed him of his ability to write poetry.
"I started crying when he told me that," she said last year. "I just bawled like a baby. I couldn't believe it. This was my dad, the poet. It was like someone saying that he couldn't see anymore. It was part of him that was just gone. It's like a part of him died. That's why this is so important to me."
Along with his two daughters, Williams is survived by his wife, Jordan, and his son, Robert.
Frankie Randall, a vocalist, pianist, actor and favorite of Frank Sinatra who performed the theme song for the 1960s NBC adventure series Flipper, has died. He was 76.
Randall, who starred in and performed in the 1965 beach comedy film Wild on the Beach - which marked the film debut of Sonny and Cher - died Sunday of lung cancer at JFK Medical Center in Indio, Calif., his partner, Melinda Read, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Randall toured in nightclubs around the country, was a regular on Dean Martin's 1966 summer variety series for NBC and appeared in the 1973 film The Day of the Wolves.
He met Sinatra while playing Jilly's bar in New York and often accompanied him as his pianist. Sinatra "bestowed" his original musical orchestrations by such arrangers as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones to Randall in 1997, according to Randall's website, and he used them for his "Tribute to Sinatra" nightclub show.
He was lured by Sinatra to the Palm Springs area, where he bought a home, and he received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2001.
A native of Passaic, N.J., Randall served as entertainment director for The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City and later became a vp at the Bally's casino.