Sunday, July 29, 2007

Racing is a State of Mind

F1 Mercedes-Benz TV commercial - Alonso Hamilton

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

10 Ways to Become a Self Taught Master

  1. Wikipedia. A vast repository of great and useful articles, Wikipedia is the autodidact's dream. You could surf it for hours, days on end, or you could use one of many tools to make daily learning a breeze. One of the best is the Articles of the Day feature --sign up to get it in your email box. Another great option that I've tried is making Wikipedia's random page your home page.

  2. Online Courses. Today you can learn from the best colleges and universities, from the comfort of your own home. Just a few of the online offerings: Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame.

  3. Chapter a day. Don't have time for books? Read them the easy way: a chapter a day is emailed to you or added to your RSS reader by DailyLit.com, which has a growing selection of free books.

  4. Word a day. Improve your vocabulary by leaps and bounds through the FreeDictionary, which has some great features you can subscribe to,including these RSS feeds: Article of the Day, In the News, and This Day in History.

  5. Take quizzes. One of the most fun ways of learning is through games and quizzes. If you do a quick Google search, you can find quizzes on just about any topic, including math, grammar, the U.S. Constitution ... you name it. Also try flashcards for effective learning.

  6. Art a day. If you'd like to learn about art, one of the best tools is Your Daily Art. Subscribe to the feed, and every day you'll get a famous piece of art, along with some notes to help your contemplation.

  7. Podcasts. Not a fan of heavy reading? Get your knowledge through listening. You can listen to a course while driving, while relaxing in the bath, or while your boss thinks you're working. Just kidding about that last one. Here are just a few of the
    available podcasts: UCLA podcasts, Berkeley on iTunes, Stanford on iTunes, Purdue University Podcasts, University
    Channel
    (Princeton).

  8. Free ebooks. Of course, there are thousands of great books online, available for free. Read them during your spare time, print them out for bathroom reading ... it doesn't matter how you use them, they're free! Here are some sites to start you out:
    Project Gutenberg, Wikibooks, Free Audio Books, Free Academic Textbooks.

  9. Learn languages. Tons of language courses are available online (BBC languages, FSI Language Courses to name a couple), and you can even learn them through iTunes: Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Greek and much more.

  10. Wikiversity. A growing number of courses are being offered through a great resource, Wikiversity. Also try BBC Learning.


Written for Dumb Little Man by Leo Babuata of Zen Habits

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Augustana - Boston

Something about piano and ocean makes me just love this video.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

政治人物的道德問題

From 香港独立媒体

--梁文道


我本來以為廣播處長朱培慶辭職只是香港這小茶杯裏的風波而已,沒想到原來有不少內地媒體也很關注這事,不只報道,並且評論。它們的角度自然是要突出香港媒體的自由與發達,香港社會民意力量的強大,以及香港人對官員道德水平的高度要求。的確,同樣的事件要是發生在內地,首先就不會有媒體擅自發布甚至拍攝一名高官與性工作者把臂同遊的照片。其次,所謂的「民意」也可能根本發作不起來,如果不是大家早就見怪不怪不以為意的話。最後,官員更是犯不為了這點小事就自行求去,除非是上級有壓力。所以朱培慶的醜聞反倒見證了香港體制的優點。


可是再細想下來,香港社會對官員道德水平的要求難道就絕無可議之處嗎?更根本的問題是,我們到底該如何要求公職人員的道德水準?它該高到哪個程度?我們又有什麼方法確保公職人員不會失德呢?

回顧關於這次事件的討論,可以發現其實有不少人贊同朱培慶的解釋,覺得他在公餘時間自己花錢冶遊是他自己「私人生活」的問題,與「公務」無關;所以他沒有理由向公眾交代詳情,在這事上真正該問責的其實是他的太太。但是與此同時,很多人又覺得他主動請辭是正確的決定,因為他的形象已經受損,而「社會對於官員道德水平的要求是應該比一般人要高的」。

為什麼當官的人一定要比普通人的道德高呢?這其實是一個沿襲傳統但未經推敲的共識,好像從政者都該是聖人,不只比一般人聰明能幹、刻苦耐勞,還要比一般人更能抵得住欲望的誘惑,在道德操守上堪為天下表率。我相信任何人只要靜下來想一想,都會覺得這種要求是不合理的。從政治權術的角度考慮,如果一個政治人物不只從政成績優秀,還恰巧是個大善人,那麼他的聲譽和威信自然更能令人拜服。但萬一他只是個普通人,齊備了普通人皆有的七情六慾,而且不時有踰矩的行為,那麼他是否就此喪失了從政的資格呢?我們該記住即使是孔子,也曾盛讚私德不夠檢點的管仲,說他有功於天下。難道我們竟然要比孔子還講究道德嗎?

但這又不表示政治家或者公職人員在操守上只要和一般人看齊就行了,因為他們佔據了特殊的職位享有非常的權能,與社會大眾有特定的關係。所以我們不應該抽象地要求他們具有更高的道德水平,而要從他們的職位和權能裏推導出一組特定的道德規則。我們不能說官員的地位高所以品德也一定要高;我們該說因為官員佔有特別的職位權能,和公眾有特別的權責關係,所以才要有相應的倫理信條。簡單地講,從政者該遵守從政的專業倫理。如果一個官員破壞了這套專業倫理,他不只對不起他的職位權能,更會傷及公眾利益;這才是我們應該睜大眼睛盯清楚的。

就以朱培慶這件事為例,他犯的錯誤大概有三條:一是光顧聲色場所;二是被記者拍照時驚惶失措;三是事後透過屬下香港電台的公關發表聲明,說當晚他身邊那名女子只不過是朋友的女伴。

第一條錯誤就像他自己所說的,是私生活的事,既與公眾無關也與其權能職位無關。如果我們接受性工作是正常的工作,性交易是正常消費活動的話,他甚至根本沒有犯錯。

第二條錯誤就更只是公關反應的技巧問題了,我們可以說他處理得不夠機智不夠成熟,破壞了他一貫的穩重形象,但這實在也和道德扯不上邊。

直至目前為止,香港傳媒與大眾最關心的就是這兩條了。朱培慶被記者拍到的醜態固然是市民訕笑的題材,當晚他和那名女子到底幹了什麼事更是愈挖愈細,大白於天下。可是那第三條錯誤卻被大家輕易放過了,恍如過眼雲煙。

若按照前面所說的從政專業倫理來看,這第三條錯誤才是最嚴重的。首先,這是一個謊言,那名女子根本不是朱培慶口中的「朋友的女友」,而是他花錢請來的性工作者。政治人物公然說謊,當然會令人聯想他是否也會在關涉公眾利益的事務上欺瞞大家了。其次,就算我們採取最寬鬆的態度,覺得這個謊言與公眾無關;但它還是一個很重大的錯失,因為這個謊言是透過政府部門——香港電台的公關發出的。

換句話說,朱培慶冶遊也好,失儀也好,都和他的職位權能無關;反而他事後回應的方法才是真正違反了公職人員的專業倫理,因為他利用職位和政府機器去撒了一個謊,與濫權無異。

為什麼我們不把這個謊言看作焦點,卻都跑去關心他那些私人生活的作風問題呢?除了朱培慶擔任公職30 年來建樹頗多,盡忠持重,大家不忍多加追究之外,這裏還有一個更廣闊的社會背景。且以美國戰後兩次著名的彈劾總統案為例,第一次是尼克遜,第二次是克林頓。在尼克遜案裏,彈劾的理由分別是他隱瞞水門事件的竊聽內情,以及動用中央情報局和聯邦調查局等國家機器去針對政敵;在克林頓案裏,彈劾的理由則是他在和萊溫斯基的性醜聞上公然撒謊。

任何人都能明顯地看出,尼克遜所犯的罪行要比克林頓嚴重多了,他濫用職權破壞了美國的國家體制,而克林頓犯的卻是一個嚴格來講與公眾無關的「私德」錯誤。為何在短短20 多年間,美國議會彈劾總統的理由會有這麼大的差別呢?

首先,從美國開始,最近30 年來世界上許多地方的社會氣氛都有道德保守化的傾向,公眾對道德問題的興趣愈來愈濃厚。香港就是一個明顯的例子,與性有關的議題近來動不動就成了社會分歧的引爆點。更準確地說,這還不是道德的保守,而是道德的偏向。因為我們雖然很關心包括政客在內的公眾人物有沒有嫖妓,有沒有婚外情;但卻從不理會他們有沒有同情心,是否仁善公正。對一些力倡道德重建的團體來講,一個政治家是同性戀的罪惡甚至比他毫不關懷弱勢群體的麻木不仁還要重。一個議員可以言而無信,實際投票結果與他事前所言截然兩樣;但他卻絕對不能有婚外性行為,彷彿他的性生活和公眾更有關係似的。莫非只有性才是道德領域的議題嗎?

其次,媒體的瑣碎化與相應的「政治化妝術」(spin)也有一定程度的責任。報刊雜誌固然愈來愈喜歡政治人物的小故事,說說他們放假去何處旅行,孩子又在什麼地方上學工作。同時政治人物也愈來愈不介意公開一點自己的私生活,好營造一個立體的人格形象,讓百姓覺得他很親民。加起來的效果就是把公眾視線從更嚴肅的政治議題轉向至政客的個人身上,如果今天的政客比從前少了私隱,狗仔隊像追蹤明星一樣跟隨他們,這也實在是大勢所趨,咎由自取。

說回中國政治的現實。我們歷來就很關心政治人物的道德操守,直到今天,中央政府仍不時三令五申,要官員端正品行,可是各級幹部腐敗失德的事還是層出不窮。原因之一是許多品德的要求陳義過高,沒有從官員實際擁佔的職權出發,反而像是要先找一個君子才請他當官似的,非常不切實際。更重要的是這些道德要求沒有被翻譯變化成具體的制度制約,根本就難以操作。例如我們都不想再看見官員為了一己私慾就大興土木,為自己修築豪華辦公樓,為地方鋪張大而無當的形象工程,可叫他們放棄浮誇的作風就管用了嗎?其實這並不是什麼品德的問題,而是預算如何編訂如何管控的權力監督的問題;與其奢言道德,還不如貫徹分權制衡的精神。比起內地,香港或許勝在相對自由的傳媒;但是說到官員道德水平的準則,大家在觀念上都還有很長的路要走。我們對政治人物操守的要求有多空泛,這條路就有多遠。

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ophelia

John Everett Millais. Ophelia, 1852

Ophelia, the love of Hamlet, daughter of Polonius. Drowned after Hamlet's "insanity". Here's the passage in Hamlet of her death:

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Eugène Delacroix. The Death of Ophelia, Lithograph, 1843
Eugène Delacroix. The Death of Ophelia, Oil Painting, 1853


Chinese Translation: 中文翻译:
溪上有斜柳 叶影却苍白
见她款款来 身怀满芬芳
他人曰怀春 伊人谓之亡
携裙攀上枝 缘木身轻伏
欲将手中花 成环柳前挂
断木非有意 人随花而落
落花随流水 肉身却难杭
裙裳托将起 轻展似浮莲
送目渺云间 唇动吟轻籁
人似幼灵兽 不知死将至
可怜身上布 密水添厚重
挂拖西施臂 入泥为藕肥

Alexander Cabanel. Ophelia, 1883

Diana Elliott. Ophelia, 1999


Mystery Me Photos

A beautiful photography website: Mystery Me Photos


Seaham Harbour (via Mystery Me Photos)



Not facing France

Monday, July 9, 2007

Graffiti Photography

Photographer: Carmine Groe
Project of photographs taken in Toronto alley ways in November-December 2006.







Nature, Photography, Ontario

From Photojenic: Photoblog from Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

PHOTOJENIC is the photographic home of Jen, a "accidental photographer" as he claims ;) It includes some of the most beautiful shots of Ontario natural scenery.






Soon may be maple leaves

Classical Music on YouTube (Part 3)

YouTube contains hundreds of clips of classical music, here, I recommend the bests.

View: Classical Music on YouTube Part 1, Part 2

Miklós Perényi and András Schiff play Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821.









Pablo Casals plays Bach - Suite no.1 for Cello, filmed in 1954 in the Abbaye Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa in France



How Harry Potter Ends under 4 writers and 1 artist

The last book of the Harry Potter series is coming out soon, very soon. The high expectation is been piling up to a degree that it's blocking the view of the Hubble. So New York Times asked 4 writers and 1 artist to end the story.

The Boy Who Died by Damon Lindelof (co-creator and head writer of the television series “Lost.”)

When Ms. Rowling first took us by the hand and led us down the path of her story (a brilliant one, I’ve neglected to mention), she boldly titled her first chapter “The Boy Who Lived.”

We come to learn later that Harry has survived an assassination attempt ... both his parents had sacrificed their lives to spare his. The most rewarding ending would be one in which he performs a similar act of self-sacrifice. I would just about giggle with glee were I to get to the last chapter (I never peek ahead) and find it titled “The Boy Who Died.”

When Harry Met Davey by Meg Cabot (author of the “Princess Diaries” series. Her most recent book is “Queen of Babble in the Big City.”)

DAVID LETTERMAN So that’s good, right? You defeated the bad guy. You got the girl. All the nice dead people came back to life. And you’re now head of the whole wizarding operation. So you’ve got yourself a completely happy ending, right?

HARRY No one was expecting that. But yes, exactly.

Made in Hogwarts by Larry Doyle (a former writer for “The Simpsons” and now a screenwriter, is the author of “I Love You, Beth Cooper.”)

“I’ll tell you something,” Ron was prattling on. “I’ve had enough of wizarding after that.”

...

“I’m going to Hollywood,” said Ron. “That’s where the real magic happens.”

Hermione Tells All by Polly Horvath (the author of “The Canning Season” and the forthcoming “The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane.”)

Hermione: “Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Once you graduate, oh, sure, you’ve got the ruddy degree in witchcraft and the dark arts but whatcha gonna do with it? Doesn’t half pay the rent. I got me a new tack now. I’m writing some books. Seven or so. Gonna sell them and make some money. I got the whole thing planned out.”

The Last Day

I envisioned scenes from an apocalyptic battle. Strung together in a nonlinear visual narrative, they are meant to set a certain mood. I intended to offer points of departure for the imagination rather than provide a concrete answer to the question of how it will all end.
— ANDREA DEZSÖ, an artist and a professor at Parsons the New School for Design

100 Days That Changed Music


Blender lists 100 days that changed music, interesting enough, the day John Lennon was murdered ranked No. 22, Justin and Britney split up is No. 13. Judge yourself.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Green handbags

from dexigner.com
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 07100% recycled-material, 100% unique, 100% made from Italy, such are the features of the bag collection of the Sandra Di Giacinto. With a strong fascination of Japanese art, the designer weaved the use of bright colors with the minimalistic design. The collection has been selected by trendy boutiques all over the world and also by prestigious museum shops such as the SFMoma, the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, the Venice Biennale.














"Plissè Bag" Collection 2007
Just shown in Paris on February 2007 it is already a success. It's the new plissè bag collection 2007 of Sandra di Giacinto, 100% made in Italy, in "ecoleather" with recycled newspapers. Each bag is different, sold in limited edition in selected boutiques, with an artistic composition, unique and entirely handmade but at the same time affordable.

Sandra Di Giacinto: sandra.digiacinto fastwebnet.it

Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 02
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 03
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 04
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 05
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 06
Plisse Bag by Sandra Di Giacinto 08

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dior's 60th Anniversary Collection

The runaway of Dior's 60th anniversary collection in the Orangerie at Versailles outshine the most dazzling on the night of July 2nd. Here's a selection of some of my favorite appearance of the show. Style.com has a full coverage of the collection.












Lily Cole
THIS one is my favorite, without the black gloves...

100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

The most awesome video clip I've seen for a long time! A must-see!!!

This is a parody of all the "100" list specials that the American Film Institute keeps putting out. Complete list at For Those Who Just Have to Know

Classy Museum Extension Design

Holl has placed a row of translucent glass boxes down a hill to the right of the old museum. Photograph by David S. Allee.
Photograph by David S. Allee, from The New Yorker

Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, in The New Yorker, reviewed Steven Holl's extensive for Nelson-Atkins Museum, in Kansas City: "As it turns out, the building, which will open in June, is not just Holl’s finest by far but also one of the best museums of the last generation. Its boldness is no surprise, but, in addition, it is laudably functional, with a clear layout, handsome and logically designed galleries, and a suffusion of natural light. Furthermore, Holl’s five glass structures, punctuating the hill, don’t mock the old building as you might expect; they dance before it and engage it."

Images from New York Times, Roland Halbe/Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The exterior of the Bloch Building at night.By subtly interweaving his building with the museum’s historic fabric and the surrounding landscape, Mr. Holl has produced a work of haunting power.


The interior of the new Bloch Building Lobby Lens.


The southernmost lenses of the Bloch Building illuminated at night.

Cup of Tea?

Want a cup of tea? Bring up a fancy tea pot!
Here are some of the tea pots in The Atlanta Teapot Festival , the entire collection could be viewed from MudFire


Sooyeon Kim


Silvie Granatelli


Sam Chung


Michele Smith


Barry Gregg


Neil Estrick


D. Hayne Bayless


Gloria Singer


Eileen Braun


Donna Owens


Joan Rasmussen


Meryl Ruth


Deb Schwarzkopf


Pamela Segers


Gina Skillings


Keri Straka


Donna Friedman


Val Jefford


John Thigpen