1. 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.”


              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.


    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


    Regards to Mama.


  2. “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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. Amazing Snow Sculptures From China

    China’s Snow Sculpture Festival has produced some of the most impressive snow sculptures of all time!


  6. The Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab has analyzed major new kinds of malware, including Stuxnet, which four years ago was revealed to have damaged centrifuges in Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities. That discovery of this malware, believed to have been created by American and Israeli agents, led to fears that such attacks would escalate, perhaps eventually leading to actual cyberwar

    But since then there have been no other attacks that have caused physical damage. David Talbot, chief correspondent of MIT Technology Review, sat down with Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, to ask why, and get his views on the most serious cyber threats.

    Has Kaspersky Lab discovered any new Stuxnet-like attacks?

    Nothing like this. After that we saw attacks on institutions like Saudi Aramco, and South Korean financial services, but only on IT systems. In Russia there was an attack on their computer system which managed police speed cameras, shutting down the cameras, but not physical infrastructure damage. Technically it is possible to do, so I’m afraid it is a question of time. Just as with when we talked about possible malware for smartphones several years ago, it was a question of time, and now it is here.

    What was the cyberwar component of the Russia-Ukraine dispute?

    There were attacks on banks, media, political opponents. But I don’t believe the governments are involved. I think they are hacktivists—criminal patriots. It looks like kids playing with their botnets. I believe that if government is involved, it could lead to more serious damage, like an Internet blackout. But it was like a little noise. I don’t know why it wasn’t worse. It was far from being the worst-case scenario.

    What are the leading computer security threats today? What about the “Internet of things”?

    The first is that cybercriminals and espionage efforts are moving to the mobile arena more and more. The second is traditional criminal gangs infecting computer systems to support existing businesses, like hacking computers to report wrong data about the amount of coal loaded to trains. Report more than was physically loaded, and taking the coal. But overall, cybercriminals are still happy with Windows and Android. And if they recognize there is not enough work, they can easily infect Mac, Linux, BlackBerry, and others.

    If it runs on Android, malware can get on there by mistake. But the criminals are looking at not every device, but the most profitable devices or the ones that can help with traditional crime. Are there spies interested in the temperature of your house or the data in your fridge? Not really. But if your fridge is part of an Internet and you make online transactions to the supermarket with a credit card reader on the fridge, yes, why not?

  7. Manhattanhenge or Manhattan Solstice happens twice a year when the sun aligns east-west streets. During Manhattanhenge the observers on one of the griddest east-west streets will see the sun setting over New Jersey directly opposite.

    The best view takes place on 42nd St, you’ll see the sun lined up with the center line of 42nd Street.

    2013 Manhattanhenge Dates

    Half Sun
    Tuesday, May 28 8:16 PM
    Saturday, July 13 8:24 PM

    Full Sun

    Wednesday, May 29 8:15 PM
    Friday, July 12 8:23 PM

  8. At the edge of the world - Released January 22, 2014 | Trailer

    A film by Claus Drexel

    Paris at night. It is here that live Jeni, Wenceslas, Christine Pascal and others. Homeless, they haunt sidewalks, bridges and subway corridors, on the edge of a world where society no longer protects. They face us, they tell us.


    On the Edge of the World (2013). Interview with Claus Drexel by Vanessa McMahon

    Au bord du monde, le film événement de Claus Drexel. Interview : 1. Pourquoi ce film ? from Au bord du monde on Vimeo.

    Ah, beautiful Paris! City of lights, city of love, city of des Beaux-Arts and grand history…city of great poverty and a rising homeless population. Meet Jeni, Wenceslas, Christine, Pascal and many others who live on the streets all year long in Paris during freezing winters, hot summers and wet shoulder seasons. While they struggle to subsist under the bridges, in alleyways and in the metros in plain sight, they endure a near invisible existence. In his visually stunning and touching documentary- ‘ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD’ (2013)- director Claus Drexel films the homeless of Paris to look at them up close and personal and hear what they have to say. -Vanessa McMahon

    Read the entire Interview at:  http://www.filmfestivals.com/blog/thessaloniki/on_the_edge_of_the_world_2013_interview_with_claus_drexel

    Posted by : Jai Krishna Ponnappan


  9. Theater junkies can get their fix at TFF2014 this year with documentaries and narratives surrounding performing arts.

  10. Nearly 500 days into its mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what its drone space shuttle is doing in orbit, or when it might come back.

    The Air Force’s secret space plane has been up in orbit for nearly 500 days—a space endurance record. But nearly a year and a half into the mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what the X-37B is doing up there, or when it might come back.

    The U.S. Air Force boosted the robotic X-37B atop the nose of an Atlas-5 rocket in December 2012. Since then it’s orbited the Earth thousands of times, overflying such interesting places as North Korea and Iran.

    Similar to the Space Shuttle in appearance, the diminutive X-37B is about a quarter the size of the old shuttles. But there are major differences. Lacking a crew, the spacecraft has no cockpit windows. The X-37B has a payload bay about the size of a pickup truck bed.

    And while the original Space Shuttle could stay in orbit for up to 17 days—a limitation largely due to the needs of the crew—the first X-37B mission, OTV-1, spent 225 days in space under the guidance of Air Force space flight controllers at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The second mission, OTV-2, handily doubled that number, clocking 469 days in orbit. OTV-3 is currently at 482 days and counting.

    Eventually—nobody knows when—the pudgy space plane will glide back down to Earth like the Space Shuttle it resembles, rolling to a stop on an Air Force runway in California.

    The X-37B began as a NASA project to build a small, unmanned space plane. NASA handed the project over to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 2004, but after budgetary problems the program was transferred to the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, which continues to manage the X-37B program. Boeing’s Phantom Works division built two of the X-37B spacecraft.

    The U.S. Air Force will not comment on what kind of missions the X-37B does in space. The service, which doesn’t mind talking about the space drone as a technological achievement, clams up when discussing actual missions.

    Rumors abound. One of the most popular is the X-37B can sneak up and eavesdrop on other satellites. The idea does have appeal, but skeptics point out the U.S. already has other smaller, harder to track satellites to do just that.
    View gallery
    US Air Force’s Secretive X-37B Space Plane Shatters …
    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center image shows on-orbit functions for the reusable X-37 space p …

    Another rumor is that the X-37B can, like supervillian Ernst Blofeld’s giant clamshell satellite in You Only Live Twice, saddle up to the satellites of other nations and mess with them. Though theoretically possible, the X-37 would have to be launched into an orbit similar to the target’s, and the X-37B’s size makes it easy to track. Even amateur satellite spotters can track the X-37B, and it would be obvious to everyone who had stolen a satellite.

    The most interesting—but least likely—rumor is that the X-37B is some kind of orbital bomber, capable of nailing targets from on high. There’s not a whole lot of evidence to back that theory up.

    Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer with the Space Command’s Joint Space Operations Center and now at the Secure World Foundation, believes that the X-37B is primarily a test bed for new technologies. “I think it is primarily an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform for testing new sensor technologies or validating new technologies.” Weeden tells The Daily Beast. “The current OTV-3 on orbit has basically been in the same orbit since launch, with only the occasional maneuver to maintain that orbit. That’s consistent with a remote sensing/ISR mission.”

    The X-37B is probably testing technologies that might be incorporated into the spy satellites of the future. New cameras, radars, and other sensors could be tested in space and then brought back to Earth for study. That’s much better than designing them on Earth and then building an enormously expensive spy satellite reliant on untested technology.

    That doesn’t mean that OTV-3 isn’t spying on other countries—it probably is. OTV-3’s orbit takes it over all sorts of interesting places, including North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China. The space drone’s sensors are likely could well be getting workouts against real-world targets, from North Korean missile facilities to shipyards where China’s next aircraft carriers are being built.

    And although it’s only a guess, one can surmise that, based on the amount of time the X-37B is spending in orbit, those sensors are apparently working pretty well.

    If the X-37B is just a test platform, why won’t the Pentagon open up about it? “I don’t think the secrecy surrounding the X-37B program is an attempt by the U.S. government to hide anything nefarious, but rather that it’s driven by bureaucratic inertia,” Weeden says. Addressing the rumors, Weeden points out, “The secrecy surrounding the program makes it difficult for the U.S. government to respond meaningfully to those claims and debunk them.”

    The X-37B is a relatively bright spot during a fallow period for the U.S. space program, and Boeing and the Air Force are capitalizing on the program’s success. Boeing is converting the former Orbiter Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, where Space Shuttles were maintained in-between spaceflights, to a one-stop facility designed to refurbish landed X-37Bs and prepare them for spaceflight again.

    Boeing has also proposed a larger X-37C, which would be capable of carrying up to six astronauts to and from orbit. This project is likely to get a second look as relations with Russia, the only country currently capable of sending astronauts into space, sour over the situation in the Ukraine.

    In the meantime OTV-3 continues to drift overhead, silently orbiting the Earth, doing whatever it does. It’s anyone’s guess when it will be coming back.