1. Carpe Datum at Gigaom

    Have you heard of Gigaom? Me neither. But after attending their truly fascinating Data Structure Conference in NYC I think that a solution to true seamless cross platform media measurement may be at hand.

    At Gigaom there were many innovative, ground breaking tech companies that seemed to have the capability to improve on the current measurement of media and consumer behavior through the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data blending and data discovery tools. And many of these companies have the ability to merge on one user interface all platform, device, app, software and site data and run it all in or close to real time. Today’s tech environment facilitates storytelling and data visualization to better leverage business intelligence which is exactly what we in the media space are seeking. Needless to say I was impressed by just about everyone I spoke to. Some of the innovative companies represented at Gigaom Data Structure are in the above video.

    Data Blending

    Let’s begin in the area of data blending. According to a recent Gigaom Research study (Sector Roadmap: Data Discovery in 2014) “Data blending is the term used to describe the performance of analytics on a collection of data sets, each emanating from a different data source.” They say that data discovery products currently on the market are now capable of real time or close to real time data blending allowing users to pull in data, quickly mash it up and analyze it. Some companies like cloudera offer the ability to serve many different types of user workloads with access to the same data set within a single interface. This interface, according to CEO Tom Reily, “can manage all types of analytics and identify trends in customer experience.”
    So I am thinking, can we take television data (Nielsen, STB or other), online, mobile and tablet (name your sources) and maybe even print, retail or transactional data and place it all on one interface and data blend? I know there are some companies offering this capability now in our industry but with limited datasets and outputs that still seem to be fairly silo’ed.

    Artificial Intelligence

    AI still seems very futuristic to me but in fact is fairly common in applications today. Some firms, such as alchemy api are in the business to “make computers more human” according to CEO Elliott Turner and others like Watson Solutions’ Stephen Gold offer “cognition as a service.” But what does this really mean for media? I think the possibilities are endless. We may be able in finally pinpoint how a viewer fully interacts with a piece of content, including the soft measurements of sentiment and engagement. We may even be able to use AI to predict which pieces of content are most effective at driving human behavior whether for tune-in, reaction, affection or to create a call-to-action.

    Machine Learning

    Combined with a level of AI, machines can be programmed to learn from experience. In this way data can be mined more efficiently and with greater precision to create software applications. Tim Tuttle of Expect Labs explained, “We built mind meld to listen to conversations and find information for you. Now we want to take that technology and apply it to any data you have. Think of Siri who seems to retain knowledge with each interaction. Siri is just the tip of the iceberg in machine learning capabilities. At some point we may rely solely on the machine to map out data insights. I hope I am retired by that time.

    Data Discovery Tools

    Donald Farmer, VP Product Management, Qlik believes that “When it comes to big data understanding we are in the Dark Ages.” This is exacerbated by unnatural interfaces that once had a purpose under old media but no longer apply. Farmer gave the example of the keyboard QWERTY system that was originally set up to avoid the typewriter keys from jamming. We still use this unnatural keypad interface even though our devices today do not have the problem of typewriter keys jamming up. How to we advance from old legacy systems and processes?
    This and many other questions are a part of a huge data surge that impacts many businesses, including ours in media. Attending the Gigaom lets me know that we in media are not the only ones grappling with processing, measurement, analysis and data wrangling issues.

    Re-blog posted by Jai Krishna Ponnappan
     
     

  2. The Second Week of The Omer and The Grand Cross

    The Second Week of The Omer and The Grand Cross    Monday April 21, 2014    Welcome to the 2nd week of the spiritually powerful time known as the “Omer.” ( If you haven’t heard about the Omer check out my recent blog post by clicking here).     On Wednesday of this week, we will experience the height of the astrological phenomenon known as the Cardinal Grand Cross which is formed by four planets-Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter, and Mars- being at 90 degree angles from each other. As we mentioned before, this specific configuration signals big changes that can manifest for us individually and collectively. Our work (as students of spiritual consciousness) is to make sure the transformation that will occur will be from the negative to the positive; from destruction to construction; from darkness to Light. This transformation applies not only to to our personal lives but also to the evolution of the world.    The Kabbalists have always said that humanity’s most powerful “tool” is the power of choice. No matter what situation or problem arises, we have the ability to choose how to respond to it. Will we react in our usual, robotic, ways- be it with selfishness, anger, insecurity or ego? Or, will we choose to carve out a new destiny for ourselves by pausing and responding proactively?     There is a heightened energy this week in the universe- a polarity, a potential for great Light or great darkness. The direction of this polarity is dependent upon our individual and collective consciousness – we can make a difference through prayer, meditation, and conscious sharing actions. This can be a time of great joy and energy; a time for each person to find his or her own purpose.    Each day I will post daily exercises that will enable us together and separately to put our spirituality into practice to ensure that we tip the scales towards the positive. Please feel free to post your thoughts and experiences and have a great week    Love    Karen

    Monday April 21, 2014

    Welcome to the 2nd week of the spiritually powerful time known as the “Omer.” ( If you haven’t heard about the Omer check out my recent blog post by clicking here).

    On Wednesday of this week, we will experience the height of the astrological phenomenon known as the Cardinal Grand Cross which is formed by four planets-Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter, and Mars- being at 90 degree angles from each other. As we mentioned before, this specific configuration signals big changes that can manifest for us individually and collectively. Our work (as students of spiritual consciousness) is to make sure the transformation that will occur will be from the negative to the positive; from destruction to construction; from darkness to Light. This transformation applies not only to to our personal lives but also to the evolution of the world.

    The Kabbalists have always said that humanity’s most powerful “tool” is the power of choice. No matter what situation or problem arises, we have the ability to choose how to respond to it. Will we react in our usual, robotic, ways- be it with selfishness, anger, insecurity or ego? Or, will we choose to carve out a new destiny for ourselves by pausing and responding proactively?

    There is a heightened energy this week in the universe- a polarity, a potential for great Light or great darkness. The direction of this polarity is dependent upon our individual and collective consciousness – we can make a difference through prayer, meditation, and conscious sharing actions. This can be a time of great joy and energy; a time for each person to find his or her own purpose.

    Each day I will post daily exercises that will enable us together and separately to put our spirituality into practice to ensure that we tip the scales towards the positive. Please feel free to post your thoughts and experiences and have a great week

     

  3. A Visual Dictionary of Philosophy: Major Schools of Thought in Minimalist Geometric Graphics

    A charming exercise in metaphorical thinking and symbolic representation.

    imageRodin believed that his art was about removing the stone not part of the sculpture to reveal the essence of his artistic vision. Perhaps this is what Catalan-born, London-based graphic designer Genis Carreras implicitly intended in chiseling away the proverbial philosopher’s stone to sculpt its minimalist essence. Many moons ago, I discovered with great delight Carreras’s series of geometric graphics explaining major movements in philosophy and now, with the help of Kickstarter, the project has come to new life in book form. Philographics: Big Ideas in Simple Shapes (public library) is a vibrant visual dictionary of philosophy, enlisting the telegraphic powers of design in distilling the essential principles of 95 schools of thought into visual metaphors and symbolic representation.

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    Skepticism

    True knowledge or certainty in a particular area is impossible. Skeptics have an attitude of doubt or a disposition of incredulity either in general or toward a particular object.

    The skeptics (in the colloquial sense of the word, although its roots are, fittingly, philosophical) should remember that rather than an exercise in reckless reductionism seeking to dumb down some of humanity’s most complex ideas, the project is instead a playful and thoughtful celebration of symbolic and metaphorical thinking — that distinctly human faculty that is the hallmark of our imagination. Perhaps most importantly, these minimalist graphics are designed to tickle our curiosity and spark deeper interest in influential theories of human nature and human purpose that those of us not formally trained in philosophy may not have previously been inspired to explore.

    Carreras writes:

    The visuals [are] open to different interpretations, allowing the reader to draw their path to connect the idea behind each theory with its form. This plurality reflects all the different theories to see and understand the world that are compiled [in] this book.

    The book aims to be the starting point of deeper discussion about these theories; it’s a trigger of conversation to bring philosophy back to our daily lives.

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    Relativism

    Points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration. Principles and ethics are regarded as applicable in only limited context.

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    Absolutism

    An absolute truth is always correct under any condition. An entity’s ability to discern these things is irrelevant to that state of truth. Universal facts can be discovered. It is opposed to relativism, which claims that there is not an unique truth.

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    Positivism

    The only authentic knowledge is that which is based on sense, experience and positive verification. Scientific method is the best process for uncovering the processes by which both physical and human events occur.

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    Empiricism

    Knowledge arises from evidence gathered via sense experience. Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or tradition.

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    Humanism

    Human beings can lead happy and functional lives, and are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or dogma. Life stance emphasized the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.

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    Holism

    The properties of a given system cannot be determined or explained by its parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave.

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    Authoritarianism

    Submission to authority and opposed to individualism and democracy. An authoritarian government is one in which political power is concentrated in a leader who possesses exclusive, unaccountable, and arbitrary power.

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    Determinism

    Events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state of an object or event is determined by prior states. Every type of event, including human cognition (behavior, decision, and action) is causally determined by previous events.

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    Solipsism

    Knowledge of anything outside one’s own specific mind is unjustified. The external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist.

    Philographics is absolutely delightful from cover to cover. Complement it with the history of philosophy in superhero comics and these 60-second animations of famous philosophy thought experiments.

     
  4. 100 posts!
    & Many more to come <3 Information Transforms Us :)

    (Source: assets)

     

  5. George Bernard Shaw on Marriage, the Oppression of Women, and the Hypocrisies of Monogamy by Maria Popova

    “Promiscuity is a product of slavery and not of liberty.”

    For Charles Darwin, matrimony was the victor of a careful and comical weighing of pros and cons; for Susan Sontag, “an institution committed to the dulling of the feelings”; for Charles and Ray Eames, a fairy tale of creative partnership; for Amelia Earhart, the product of medieval ideals which she was unwilling to endure; for Dan Savage, an institution that desperately needs remoralizing; for Edith Windsor and thousands like her, a cherished human right the denial of which is a death to every personal dignity and the granting of which cause for the highest public celebration.

    This layered and often conflicted nature of marriage as a legal institution is what legendary Irish playwright and London School of Economics founder George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856–November 2, 1950) — who is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Oscar, and who far more memorably once crashed his bicycle into Bertrand Russell’s — explores in his 1908 play Getting Married (public library; public domain), using the story of a family convening for a wedding as the springboard for his meditation on what’s wrong with marriage laws, the fundamental gender inequality on which they are based, the hypocrisies of monogamy, and, above all, why divorce laws desperately need to evolve.

    Shaw writes in the preface to the play:

    There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than marriage. If the mischief stopped at talking and thinking it would be bad enough; but it goes further, into disastrous anarchical action. Because our marriage law is inhuman and unreasonable to the point of downright abomination, the bolder and more rebellious spirits form illicit unions, defiantly sending cards round to their friends announcing what they have done. Young women come to me and ask me whether I think they ought to consent to marry the man they have decided to live with; and they are perplexed and astonished when I, who am supposed (heaven knows why!) to have the most advanced views attainable on the subject, urge them on no account to compromise themselves without the security of an authentic wedding ring. They cite the example of George Eliot, who formed an illicit union with Lewes. They quote a saying attributed to Nietzsche, that a married philosopher is ridiculous, though the men of their choice are not philosophers. When they finally give up the idea of reforming our marriage institutions by private enterprise and personal righteousness, and consent to be led to the Registry or even to the altar, they insist on first arriving at an explicit understanding that both parties are to be perfectly free to sip every flower and change every hour, as their fancy may dictate, in spite of the legal bond. I do not observe that their unions prove less monogamic than other people’s: rather the contrary, in fact; consequently, I do not know whether they make less fuss than ordinary people when either party claims the benefit of the treaty; but the existence of the treaty shows the same anarchical notion that the law can be set aside by any two private persons by the simple process of promising one another to ignore it.

    “Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will,” Stendhal wrote in his timeless essay on “crystallization” and how love works, and Shaw admonishes against using this very state of fever as the catalyst for something as serious, and as regulated by law and custom, as marriage:

    The stupidity is only apparent: the service was really only an honest attempt to make the best of a commercial contract of property and slavery by subjecting it to some religious restraint and elevating it by some touch of poetry. But the actual result is that when two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part. And though of course nobody expects them to do anything so impossible and so unwholesome, yet the law that regulates their relations, and the public opinion that regulates that law, is actually founded on the assumption that the marriage vow is not only feasible but beautiful and holy, and that if they are false to it, they deserve no sympathy and no relief.

    Discussing the artificiality of monogamy as law rather than choice, Shaw argues:

    Monogamy has a sentimental basis which is quite distinct from the political one of equal numbers of the sexes. Equal numbers in the sexes are quite compatible with a change of partners every day or every hour. Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farm-yard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves, and that men and women are not so completely enslaved as farm stock. Accordingly, the people whose conception of marriage is a farm-yard or slave-quarter conception are always more or less in a panic lest the slightest relaxation of the marriage laws should utterly demoralize society; whilst those to whom marriage is a matter of more highly evolved sentiments and needs (sometimes said to be distinctively human, though birds and animals in a state of freedom evince them quite as touchingly as we) are much more liberal, knowing as they do that monogamy will take care of itself provided the parties are free enough, and that promiscuity is a product of slavery and not of liberty.

    Later, in a section titled “Hearth and Home,” he adds:

    Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo. Its grave danger to the nation lies in its narrow views, its unnaturally sustained and spitefully jealous concupiscences, its petty tyrannies, its false social pretenses, its endless grudges and squabbles, its sacrifice of the boy’s future by setting him to earn money to help the family when he should be in training for his adult life (remember the boy Dickens and the blacking factory), and of the girl’s chances by making her a slave to sick or selfish parents, its unnatural packing into little brick boxes of little parcels of humanity of ill-assorted ages, with the old scolding or beating the young for behaving like young people, and the young hating and thwarting the old for behaving like old people, and all the other ills, mentionable and unmentionable, that arise from excessive segregation.

    In a section titled “Marriage as a Magic Spell,” Shaw goes on to debunk the false promises of marriage as a transformative tool for the nature of the relationship:

    The truth which people seem to overlook in this matter is that the marriage ceremony is quite useless as a magic spell for changing in an instant the nature of the relations of two human beings to one another. If a man marries a woman after three weeks acquaintance, and the day after meets a woman he has known for twenty years, he finds, sometimes to his own irrational surprise and his wife’s equally irrational indignation, that his wife is a stranger to him, and the other woman an old friend. Also, there is no hocus pocus that can possibly be devised with rings and veils and vows and benedictions that can fix either a man’s or woman’s affection for twenty minutes, much less twenty years. Even the most affectionate couples must have moments during which they are far more conscious of one another’s faults than of one another’s attractions.

    But most poignant of all are Shaw’s insights in a section titled “The Economic Slavery of Women,” where he addresses the fundamental inequality upon which the institution, as originally designed, is built and the transactional trickeries and charades they engender:

    One of the consequences of basing marriage on the considerations stated with cold abhorrence by Saint Paul in the seventh chapter of his epistle to the Corinthians, as being made necessary by the unlikeness of most men to himself, is that the sex slavery involved has become complicated by economic slavery; so that whilst the man defends marriage because he is really defending his pleasures, the woman is even more vehement on the same side because she is defending her only means of livelihood. To a woman without property or marketable talent a husband is more necessary than a master to a dog. There is nothing more wounding to our sense of human dignity than the husband hunting that begins in every family when the daughters become marriageable; but it is inevitable under existing circumstances; and the parents who refuse to engage in it are bad parents, though they may be superior individuals. The cubs of a humane tigress would starve; and the daughters of women who cannot bring themselves to devote several years of their lives to the pursuit of sons-in-law often have to expatiate their mother’s squeamishness by life-long celibacy and indigence. To ask a young man his intentions when you know he has no intentions, but is unable to deny that he has paid attentions; to threaten an action for breach of promise of marriage; to pretend that your daughter is a musician when she has with the greatest difficulty been coached into playing three piano-forte pieces which she loathes; to use your own mature charms to attract men to the house when your daughters have no aptitude for that department of sport; to coach them, when they have, in the arts by which men can be led to compromise themselves; and to keep all the skeletons carefully locked up in the family cupboard until the prey is duly hunted down and bagged: all this is a mother’s duty today; and a very revolting duty it is: one that disposes of the conventional assumption that it is in the faithful discharge of her home duties that a woman finds her self-respect. The truth is that family life will never be decent, much less ennobling, until this central horror of the dependence of women on men is done away with. At present it reduces the difference between marriage and prostitution to the difference between Trade Unionism and unorganized casual labor: a huge difference, no doubt, as to order and comfort, but not a difference in kind.

    In a later section, titled “Labor Exchanges and the White Slavery,” Shaw adds:

    Suppose, again, a woman presents herself at the Labor Exchange, and states her trade as that of a White Slave, meaning the unmentionable trade pursued by many thousands of women in all civilized cities. Will the Labor Exchange find employers for her? … [I]f it finds honest employment for her and for all the unemployed wives and mothers, it must find new places in the world for women; and in so doing it must achieve for them economic independence of men. And when this is done, can we feel sure that any woman will consent to be a wife and mother (not to mention the less respectable alternative) unless her position is made as eligible as that of the women for whom the Labor Exchanges are finding independent work? Will not many women now engaged in domestic work under circumstances which make it repugnant to them, abandon it and seek employment under other circumstances? As unhappiness in marriage is almost the only discomfort sufficiently irksome to induce a woman to break up her home, and economic dependence the only compulsion sufficiently stringent to force her to endure such unhappiness, the solution of the problem of finding independent employment for women may cause a great number of childless unhappy marriages to break up spontaneously, whether the marriage laws are altered or not. … We may expect, then, that marriages which are maintained by economic pressure alone will dissolve when that pressure is removed; and as all the parties to them will certainly not accept a celibate life, the law must sanction the dissolution in order to prevent a recurrence of the scandal which has moved the Government to appoint the Commission now sitting to investigate the marriage question: the scandal, that is, of a great number matter of the evils of our marriage law, to take care of the pence and let the pounds take care of themselves. The crimes and diseases of marriage will force themselves on public attention by their own virulence. I mention them here only because they reveal certain habits of thought and feeling with regard to marriage of which we must rid ourselves if we are to act sensibly when we take the necessary reforms in hand.

    Shaw goes on to explore the importance of loosening marriage laws and making divorce more attainable, concluding:

    When it comes to “conduct rendering life burdensome,” it is clear that no marriage is any longer indissoluble; and the sensible thing to do then is to grant divorce whenever it is desired, without asking why.

    Complement Getting Married with Darwin’s delightful list of the pros and cons of marriage and Amelia Earhart’s remarkably progressive 1931 letter to her husband-to-be.

     
  6. Ai Weiwei: According to What? — the first North American survey of the work of the provocative Chinese conceptual artist, sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, and activist—will be presented at the Brooklyn Museum from April 18 to August 10, 2014.

          This will be the first large-scale museum exhibition of Ai’s work in New York and the final presentation on the exhibition’s tour. The Brooklyn Museum will include several major works not seen in previous venues. Included among the new material is S.A.C.R.E.D., making its first appearance in North America since it debuted to critical acclaim during the Venice Biennale in 2013. Ai created this monumental work in response to his 81-day imprisonment by Chinese authorities in 2011. Each of the six iron boxes that make up the piece contains lifelike fiberglass dioramas of detailed scenes painstakingly reproduced from memory. The work documents and reveals the most painful and intimate moments of Ai’s imprisonment, from periods of interrogation to such daily activities as eating, sleeping, showering, and using the toilet. The Brooklyn presentation will also feature a stunning site-specific installation of bicycles. This installation is part of a series of works by Ai using bicycles that is related to his childhood experience and to the bicycle’s relevance to the lives of most Chinese people.

                Also making its debut is an installation of photographs and the personal belongings of Ye Haiyan, a women’s rights activist who has been systematically targeted by authorities for her advocacy on behalf of female Chinese sex workers and evicted from her home numerous times. The exhibition will also premiere Stay Home!—Ai’s documentary about Liu Ximei, who contracted AIDS as a child after being given an HIV-contaminated blood transfusion at a Chinese hospital. The work of Ai Weiwei examines the interrelations between art, society, and individual experience while exploring universal topics such as culture, history, politics, and tradition. His practice is interdisciplinary and transcends artistic genres, providing insights into the cultural, historical, and social contexts from which it emerged. Many of Ai’s creations address issues of cultural identity, tradition, and craftsmanship, while others engage with more overtly political and social issues. According to What? will feature several large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, and video. Also included in the exhibition will be several works created as a direct response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Straight (2008–12) consists of tons of twisted steel rebar—meticulously straightened as if nothing had happened—taken from shoddily constructed buildings, particularly schools, that collapsed during the quake. Snake Ceiling (2009), an installation comprised of hundreds of backpacks in varying sizes and colors to represent children of various ages, refers to the more than five thousand students who perished. Examples from the artist’s repurposed furniture series, in which he reassembles pieces of antique furniture to eliminate the furniture’s original function and give it new meaning, are representative of Ai’s strong interest in structure and craftsmanship. Among these is China Log (2005), which uses wood from demolished temples of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). This sculpture was assembled using traditional Chinese joinery techniques. When viewed in cross section, it reveals the shape of a map of China. The exhibition also features Ai’s famous Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995–2009), a series of three photographs showing the artist dropping and smashing an antique vase, as well as Colored Vases (2007–10), a grouping of Han Dynasty (206 b.c.e.-220 c.e.) vases that Ai has dipped in brightly colored paints. Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. Beijing, 1957) is known for such major projects as Fairytale, for which he brought 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel, Germany, for Documenta 12 in 2007; his collaboration with architects Herzog and de Meuron on the Beijing National Stadium design for the 2008 Olympic Games; and his installation of one hundred million hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010. His political activism has gained worldwide attention through his use of the Internet and social media as active platforms for his commentary and as art forms in their own right.

              Ai Weiwei was a member of China’s first group of avant-garde artists. He moved to the United States in 1981, living in various parts of the country before moving in 1983 to New York, where he resided for a brief time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He returned to Beijing in 1993. While in New York, he was influenced by the artists Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns. The exhibition’s subtitle, According to What?, is derived from the name of a 1964 Johns painting that in turn recalls Duchamp’s last painting. The exhibition will be installed in 13,000 square feet of gallery space, including the fourth- and fifth-floor special exhibitions galleries in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, and the brick arcade that separates the Lobby from the Rubin Pavilion on the first floor.

     

  7. The Secret to Learning Anything: Albert Einstein’s Advice to His Son

    “That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”

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              With Father’s Day around the corner, here comes a fine addition to history’s greatest letters of fatherly advice from none other than Albert Einstein — brilliant physicist, proponent of peace, debater of science and spirituality, champion of kindness — who was no stranger to dispensing epistolary empowerment to young minds.

    In 1915, aged thirty-six, Einstein was living in wartorn Berlin, while his estranged wife, Mileva, and their two sons, Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard “Tete” Einstein, lived in comparatively safe Vienna. On November 4 of that year, having just completed the two-page masterpiece that would catapult him into international celebrity and historical glory, his theory of general relativity, Einstein sent 11-year-old Hans Albert the following letter, found in Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (public library) — the same wonderful anthology that gave us some of history’s greatest motherly advice, Benjamin Rush’s wisdom on travel and life, and Sherwood Anderson’s counsel on the creative life.

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    Einstein, who takes palpable pride in his intellectual accomplishments, speaks to the rhythms of creative absorption as the fuel for the internal engine of learning:

    My dear Albert,

    Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

    I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal… .

    Be with Tete kissed by your

    Papa.

    Regards to Mama.

    .

     
  8. “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”

    The love of your family, friends, and others struggling with disease can be the one constant in your journey with breast cancer. Their positivity, encouragement, and unspoken support can keep you going far longer than you assumed you could. Martina McBride may be a country superstar, but lovers of any genre of music will appreciate the compelling and touching message of this song. With the love of those around you, you can achieve anything.

    Listen as the lyrics and stories show how important and meaningful it is to have a strong support system.

    Read more at http://blog.thebreastcancersite.com/im-gonna-love-you-through-it/#yspDtW6XrhSe0zaB.99

     
     
  9. One of the missing Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs made for the Russian Royal family will be on public view at Court Jewellers Wartski in Mayfair in the run up to Easter.

                  The magnificent Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg will be on view for four days only from the 14th April 2014 and is unlikely to be seen again in public for a long time. The tragic story of the last Tsar and his family has been fascinating the world for almost a century and most people will immediately associate the iconic Fabergé eggs with the Russian Royal family. Only 50 of these lavish works of art were ever created, each of them a unique design and a certain mysteriousness is attached to all of them. After the revolution the Eggs were seized by the Bolsheviks. Some they kept, but most were sold to the West. Two were bought by Queen Mary and are part of the British Royal Collection. The remainder belong to Museums, Oligarchs, Sheikhs and heiresses. Eight of them, however, are missing of which only three are believed to have survived the revolution. Now, one of them has been discovered under the most miraculous circumstances. This Fabergé egg, which is beautifully crafted and contains a Vacheron Constantin watch inside, is sitting on an elaborate, jewelled gold stand and measures 8.2 cm in height in total. It was given by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887. Easter is the most important of all Russian Orthodox festivals and it’s a long established tradition to exchange Easter eggs. Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the Tsars, created the lavish Imperial Easter eggs for both Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916. The Eggs are his most prized creations and have become bywords of luxury and craftsmanship. This egg was last seen in public over 112 years ago, when it was shown in the Von Dervis Mansion exhibition of the Russian Imperial Family’s Fabergé collection in St. Petersburg in March 1902. In the turmoil of the Russian revolution the Bolsheviks confiscated the Egg from the Empress. It was last recorded in Moscow in 1922 when the Soviets decided to sell it as part of their policy of turning ‘Treasures into Tractors’. Its fate after this point was unknown and it is was feared it could have been melted for its gold and lost forever. It was only in 2011 that Fabergé researchers discovered that the Third Imperial Egg survived the revolution, when it was discovered in an old Parke-Bernet catalogue. Its provenance had been unknown and so it was sold at auction on Madison Avenue, New York on 7th March 1964 as a ‘Gold watch in egg form case’ for $2,450 (£875 at the time). This discovery started a worldwide race to discover the whereabouts of the egg, which was now worth tens of millions of dollars. In the meantime the egg was bought in the Mid-West of America at a bric-a-brac market. The buyer lived a modest live and tried to make extra money by buying gold and selling it for its scrap metal value. When he spotted the egg, he thought he could make an easy $500, although they had to pay $14,000 for its scrap metal value. But what had worked on many occasions, did not work this time. He had overestimated its worth and couldn’t sell it. No one spotted its potential and luckily no one offered more than the owner had paid for it, hence it was saved from the melting pot. The egg has several scratches on it where the metal was tested for its gold content. The egg became a financial burden to its unknowing owner. One evening in despair the owner tapped ‘Egg’ and ‘Vacheron Constantin’ into Google and a Telegraph article regarding the egg’s survival appeared quoting Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, the London based, Royal Warrant holding experts on the work of Carl Fabergé. Recognising his egg in the article the owner was unable to sleep for days. He got on a plane to London to find Kieran and to show him images of the egg. Kieran was left speechless by the images and was almost certain the lost egg had been found, but to confirm its identity and ensure it was not a very clever fake, he travelled to the US. When he arrived in a small town in the Mid-West, he was shown into the kitchen of the owner’s home and presented with the egg, which was slightly smaller than the large cupcake positioned next to it. After an examination he confirmed that it was indeed the lost Imperial treasure. It had travelled from the hands of an Empress in the grandeur of Imperial St. Petersburg to a scrap metal dealer in modern day America. Wartski acquired the egg for a private collector, making the finder an art historical lottery winner, receiving multiple millions of dollars per centimetre of egg. The collector has generously allowed the egg to be displayed in London where it will be on view for only four days in a specially designed exhibition at Wartski. The last Fabergé clock sold in public, was a non-Imperial one known as the ‘Rothschild Egg’ which sold at Christie’s in 2007 for $18.5 million. Two other of the original eight missing Imperial Eggs are known to have survived the Russian Revolution. They are the 1889 Necessaire Egg (heavily chased gold, set with pearls and gemstones, without a stand, containing 13 miniature toilet articles) and last recorded at Wartski in June 1952. The 1888 Cherub Egg with Chariot (a gold egg resting in a chariot drawn by a Cherub) was last recorded with Armand Hammer in New York in 1934. See the ultimate Easter Treasure from the 14th to 17th April 2014 at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE.

     
  10. Modern and Contemporary South Asian and Middle Eastern art dominate Bonhams sale

    Bonhams sale of Islamic and Indian art in London (8.4.14) produced strong results for Modern and Contemporary Asian art with five of the top ten items in the sale important paintings from across the region from the Middle East to India. “The Middle Eastern section of the sale achieved 86% sold (by value), with 25 buyers from 12 countries. One third of the works went to buyers outside the region demonstrating the increasing international appeal of works in the category. Over a third of works were sold to clients who are new to Bonhams indicating continual growth and broadening of the market,” said Nima Sagharchi, who heads the Modern and Contemporary Middle East element in this department. A rare and exquisite painting by Iraq’s foremost modernist painter Jewad Selim, depicting Mrinalini Sarabhai, one of the most celebrated figures of classical Indian dance which was estimated to sell for £50,000-70,000 made £170,000, more than twice the top estimate. Mrinalini Sarabhai, one of the most renowned and prolific practitioners of classical Indian dance, was born in Chennai 1918, she was educated in Switzerland, her native India and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. By her early twenties, Mrinalini had already performed in India, Europe and America with her company. This portrait was painted during her first London appearance in 1949 at St Martin’s Theatre in London’s West End with the “Ballets Hindous” which also performed in Geneva, Lucerne and Brussels in the same year. At the time the portrait was painted Selim was studying in London on a government scholarship and mixing in artistic and musical circles where he encountered Mrinalini. He started at the Chelsea School of Art in January 1946, but moved to the Slade School of Fine Art in September of that same year. A painting by Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iran1937) estimated to sell for £80,000 to £110,000 sold for £158,500. A renowned scholar and translator of Persian literature and a leading Iranian neo-traditionalist Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s picture is arguably one of the finest examples of the artists work from the 1970’s, when he shifted his focus away from dense talismanic imagery and placed a greater focus on recurring letterforms. Another prominent highlight of the sale was a very rare early work by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri, a mixed media assemblage from the 1990’s which made £72,100. Inspired by Rauschenberg’s “Combine’s” and the artistic vocabulary of the proto-pop art movement, the work was executed in 1994, making it the earliest Moshiri to be offered at public auction. Walk on Earth, an acrylic on canvas executed in 1983, by M.F. Husain achieved a price of £69,700. As a Muslim, Husain was heavily influenced by his Islamic faith. Walk on Earth most probably refers to the Qu’ran writing, “Do not walk pompously or arrogantly about the earth; you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height.” Maqbol Fida Husain travelled extensively during his lifetime and the influence of different cultures upon his work is clear to see. In its early stages, he was very much influenced by the Chinese style. In the 1950s Husian had visited China where he encountered the art of the Sung Dynasty and was particularly inspired by the depiction of horses by celebrated Chinese artist, Xu Beihong (President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China). Husain’s trademark horses have now become a vital part of Indian art history. A painting titled ‘Imagination’ by the Pakistani artist Sadequain sold for £60,000. This was one of the seven Sadequain works in the sale. Painted in 1968 it had been estimated to sell for £25,000 to £35,000. Nour Aslam, who heads the Modern and Contemporary South Asian elements in this sale said: “This is, by far, the best selection of Sadequain’s works to come to the market for a while. They are of great quality and fresh to the market. All the pieces are pivotal works and they have come in from countries across Europe as well as Pakistan. Clearly, his appeal in the international market has consistently been strong and continues to grow.”