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18 Nov 12:29

11 formas de não jogar suas milhas no lixo | EXAME.com

São Paulo - Os programas de fidelidade existentes no Brasil oferecem excelentes oportunidades de viajar ou fazer compras de graça. Somente o Multiplus, rede de programas de fidelidade que reúne a TAM e mais 160 empresas, concede a seus participantes todos os meses 300.000 prêmios – passagens aéreas, em sua grande maioria.

Por desorganização ou desconhecimento, no entanto, 23% dos pontos acumulados dentro do Multiplus simplesmente viram pó. Os titulares de pontos que expiram deixam de ganhar o equivalente a 90.000 prêmios por mês - ou mais de 1 milhão por ano.

Pode ser um pouco trabalhoso e até mesmo chato, mas fazer a gestão correta dos pontos é muito bom para o bolso. A seguir, os presidentes de três programas de fidelidade e outros especialistas explicam como evitar os principais erros que levam milhões de pontos a expirar todos os meses:

1 – Fique atento aos prazos em que as milhas expiram

No Multiplus, os pontos duram dois anos e o consumidor perde o direito a qualquer benefício após esse período. O presidente da empresa, Eduardo Gouveia, diz que esse prazo foi estipulado para que apenas os consumidores fiéis e que possuem uma relação de longo prazo com as companhias que vão distribuir os prêmios acabem beneficiados.

“Criamos um modelo em que tanto a empresa quanto o consumidor saem ganhando”, diz Gouveia. Outros programas de fidelidade, no entanto, possuem prazos mais favoráveis ao consumidor.

A Dotz, um programa de fidelidade que reúne diversos sites de comércio eletrônico e recentemente iniciou em Belo Horizonte sua expansão para o varejo físico, estabeleceu que os pontos distribuídos no programa só expiram após quatro anos.

Já a NetPoints, um programa de fidelidade que deve ser lançado nas próximas semanas e mira as classes B e C, promete chegar ao mercado com uma proposta totalmente diferente. O CEO da NetPoints, Carlos Formigari, diz que os pontos distribuídos pelo programa não vão expirar nunca.

Outras inovações prometidas são permitir que os pontos de uma pessoa sejam transferidos para outra e também premiar o cliente da NetPoints que indica outro cliente. Nesse caso, quando alguém indicado faz uma compra e ganha mil pontos, quem lhe indicou para o programa de fidelidade leva outros mil. Resta saber se a relação de troca entre pontos e prêmios também será vantajosa.

2 – Leia os regulamentos dos programas atentamente

Os programas de fidelidade que reúnem diversas empresas, como o Multiplus, possuem regras bastante complexas por natureza. Cada parceiro tem independência para adotar as políticas que desejar. O resultado é que, dentro do Multiplus, há diferentes regras de acúmulos de pontos ao se comprar na TAM, na Oi, no Ponto Frio, na Livraria Cultura ou na BM&FBovespa.

Os detalhes são tão sutis que a conversão de pontos da Oi para o Multiplus é feito por meio de uma relação de troca diferente do que a conversão de Multiplus para Oi. Não que uma rede de programas não seja uma ideia boa.

“Ao reunir diversos programas de fidelidade em um só, o consumidor passou a ter acesso a prêmios e vantagens que não tinha antes”, diz o consultor Fernando Guimarães, um dos criadores do Smiles, o programa da Gol/Varig. Já o presidente do Multiplus, Eduardo Gouveia, afirma que tanto é verdade que uma rede de programas de fidelidade só ajuda o consumidor que a concessão de prêmios pela empresa aumentou 62% nos últimos 12 meses.

Mas a existência de diversos programas com diferentes regras também pode confundir. Na Dotz, outro programa de fidelidade que tem crescido rapidamente no Brasil, o consumidor ganha pontos principalmente quando faz compras em sites de comércio eletrônico como Walmart.com, Saraiva.com, Americanas.com e Submarino.

Só que caso o cliente entre diretamente no site do Submarino para fazer compras, não ganhará ponto nenhum. Para acumulá-los, é necessário primeiro entrar no site da Dotz e de lá fazer as compras nos sites parceiros e dizer que é filiado ao programa de fidelidade.

Em sites como o ReclameAqui, há dezenas de reclamações de pessoas que não entenderam essas nuances e depois deixaram registrada a frustração por perder a chance de acumular mais pontos.

3 – Gerencie corretamente os pontos de diversos programas

A leitura atenta dos regulamentos dos programas de fidelidade fará o consumidor perceber que fazer parte de uma rede como o Multiplus dá trabalho. Cabe ao consumidor, por exemplo, se informar sobre as taxas de conversão de pontos de um programa de fidelidade em pontos Multiplus, por exemplo.

Também cabe ao próprio cliente ligar para a empresa que emitiu seu cartão de crédito ou lhe presta serviço de telefonia celular e pedir para que os pontos acumulados dentro dessas empresas sejam transferidos para a rede Multiplus.

A conversão costuma levar até 15 dias. Alguém que acumulou milhas no cartão de crédito, portanto, e quer passar esse saldo para sua conta no Multiplus pode ter de esperar todo esse tempo.

Para muita gente que está com pressa para emitir um bilhete e viajar, esse prazo pode impossibilitar o pagamento com milhas. Em outros programas de fidelidade como o Dotz, o prazo para o lançamento dos pontos obtidos no sistema pode chegar a 30 dias. Por outro lado, não é preciso pedir que os pontos sejam transferidos - eles entram no sistema da Dotz automaticamente.

4 - Planeje a viagem com antecedência

A TAM não impõe restrições no número de assentos por avião para o pagamento de passagens aéreas em voos domésticos com o uso de pontos do Multiplus. Mas isso não vale para os voos internacionais, que possuem uma oferta de assentos bem mais restrita. Quem deseja viajar a Nova York ou Miami, por exemplo, em datas muito procuradas precisa reservar a passagem com muita antecedência.

Assim como os demais passageiros, quem usa as milhas também pode ser obrigado a pagar mais caro por passagens na alta temporada. Outros casos que exigem um planejamento com maior antecedência envolvem a emissão de passagens por empresas parceiras da TAM na Star Alliance ou então quando diversos membros de uma mesma família querem viajar no mesmo avião ao exterior.

5 – Só converta os pontos em passagens se realmente estiver certo de que vai viajar

Pressa demais também pode ser prejudicial. Da mesma forma que alguém que compra uma passagem aérea e depois desiste acaba taxado por isso, a conversão das milhas em bilhetes que acabam não sendo utilizados também não sai de graça. No caso do Multiplus, os arrependidos recebem de volta 90% de seus pontos - os outros 10% são descontados.

A advogada Maria Inês Dolci, coordenadora da ONG de defesa do consumidor Pro Teste, lembra que a dedução ocorre mesmo quando o motivo para o adiamento de uma viagem é justo. O terremoto e o tsunami que colocaram o Japão sob risco nuclear em março fez muitos brasileiros desistirem de viajar para o país asiático. Mesmo nesses casos, houve o desconto das milhas para quem deixou a viagem para depois.

6 – Fique atento aos melhores períodos de conversão de pontos em passagens aéreas

Em geral, as companhias aéreas possuem tabelas fixas que estabelecem a relação de troca de pontos por passagens aéreas. Quando sobram assentos em determinados voos, entretanto, as empresas costumam dar incentivos para o uso de milhas como forma de aumentar a ocupação das aeronaves. Em geral, um passagem para qualquer destino dentro do Brasil custa 10.000 pontos.

Tanto a Gol (que possui o programa de fidelidade Smiles) como a TAM já fizeram promoções em que cobravam apenas 4.000 pontos em troca desse serviço. Agora mesmo quem planeja viajar pela América do Sul pela TAM e quer pagar com pontos do Multiplus está diante de uma oportunidade de economizar.

Há algumas semanas, a TAM anunciou que um bilhete para qualquer voo internacional para a América do Sul em classe econômica passará a custar 15.000 pontos – e não mais 10.000.

A TAM informou que teve que fazer essa readequação devido ao forte crescimento no número de bilhetes emitidos com milhas para esses destinos e lembrou que essa é a primeira alteração feita nas relações de troca desde que lançou seu programa de fidelidade em 1993. O consumidor que se apressar, entretanto, ainda pode driblar a nova regra. A alteração na relação de troca só vale para bilhetes emitidos no dia 1º de julho em diante.

7 – Pontos são prêmios. Não pague a mais por eles

Em geral, os programas de fidelidade não costumam exigir que o consumidor tire mais dinheiro do bolso para realizar uma compra. Uma das únicas exceções é o programa Km de Vantagens, da rede de postos Ipiranga, que faz parte do Multiplus. Acumular pontos Ipiranga é gratuito assim como no Multiplus. Entretanto, para converter pontos Ipiranga em pontos Multiplus, é preciso arcar com uma taxa.

Para o consumidor, parece fazer pouco sentido ter de pagar por pontos, já que a grande vantagem de qualquer programa desse tipo é receber prêmios gratuitos em troca da fidelidade a alguma empresa. “É errado achar que o consumidor ganha presentes nesses programas de fidelidade.

Na verdade, esses prêmios já estão embutidos nos preços que todos nós pagamos”, afirma a advogada Maria Inês Dolci, da Pro Teste. A própria origem dos programas de fidelidade sustenta essa tese.

Durante a década de 90, surgiram centenas de programas desses ao redor do mundo porque as empresas perceberam que os consumidores topavam pagar um pouco mais caro para juntar pontos que posteriormente lhe renderiam prêmios.

Se discordar da política de cobrança da Ipiranga, o consumidor terá duas opções: escolher outra rede de combustíveis para abastecer seu carro e tornar-se fiel a ela ou então não usar a rede Ipiranga para ganhar pontos do Multiplus e convertê-los dentro das possibilidades do próprio programa da Ipiranga. O Multiplus esclarece que nenhuma outra empresa parceira exige esse tipo de cobrança.

8 – Use as regras dos programas de fidelidade para pontuar duas vezes com uma mesma compra

As redes de programas de fidelidade como o Multiplus permitem aos portadores de cartão de crédito que oferecem milhas da TAM, por exemplo, a possibilidade de aumentar a pontuação no ato do consumo. Quem compra uma passagem para qualquer trecho nacional pelo site da TAM ganha mil pontos no Multiplus Fidelidade. Se pagar pela passagem com algum cartão de crédito em que as compras geram milhas, o consumidor ganhará duas vezes – pela TAM e pelo cartão.

9 – Não pense só em passagens aéreas

Pouca gente já se deu conta, mas as redes de programas de milhagens possuem diversas opções para a troca de pontos. As passagens aéreas ainda representam 99% dos prêmios no Multiplus. O presidente da empresa, Eduardo Gouveia, diz que há uma preferência cultural das classes A e B por passagens, mas ele aposta que a conversão dos pontos deverá se tornar mais diversificada nos próximos anos.

A empresa tem feito um grande esforço de marketing para apresentar outras possibilidades de conversão aos consumidores. O segundo item mais requisitado por quem paga com milhas são combustíveis, mas é possível, por exemplo, comprar eletrodomésticos na rede de varejo Ponto Frio com pontos do Multiplus.

Dar ao consumidor outras opções pode beneficiar, por exemplo, quem está com pontos prestes a expirar, mas não planeja viajar de avião nos próximos meses. Além disso, quem possui poucos pontos e não teria direito a emitir um bilhete pode utilizá-los de outras formas. Na Dotz, a diversidade na conversão de pontos em prêmios já é uma realidade.

O presidente da empresa, Roberto Chade, afirma que os consumidores podem trocar pontos por 10.000 produtos e serviços. Outros prêmios bastante requisitados são eletrônicos, ingressos de cinema e recargas de celular. 

10 – Mantenha o cadastro atualizado

Uma fonte constante de reclamações em relação ao Multiplus é que a pessoa que perde sua senha e troca de e-mail demora em conseguir fazer uma transação. Em geral, o procedimento padrão da empresa quando alguém perde sua senha de acesso é enviar para o endereço de e-mail cadastrado uma nova senha.

No caso de pessoas que cadastraram um e-mail que deixou de existir, será necessário enviar cópias de CPF e RG para conseguir o acesso a uma nova senha. Não é incomum que os poucos dias que transcorrem até o envio de uma nova senha façam com que alguns pontos expirem ou fique inviabilizada a compra de uma passagem na última hora.

Muita gente se queixa em sites como o ReclameAqui porque entende que o procedimento seria uma burocracia desnecessária do Multiplus para dificultar a concessão de passagens. Mas não é bem assim. “O problema é que eu não posso enviar a senha de uma conta para alguém que eu não sei se é o dono ou não daqueles pontos”, diz Gouveia, do Multiplus.

“Adotamos o procedimento necessário para não cometer injustiças com nenhum cliente.” Manter dados cadastrais como o endereço de e-mail e o telefone sempre atualizados é a única forma de não correr o risco de ter problemas com o programa no futuro.

11 – Busque seus direitos quando se sentir prejudicado

Uma rápida navegada pelo site ReclameAqui mostra que não são poucos os clientes que se sentem injustiçados pelo desconto incorreto de pontos ou pela dificuldade de conversão em prêmios por meio dos programas de fidelidade. Os sistemas de armazenamento de dados dessas empresas estão tão sujeitos a erros como os de qualquer companhia.

O Multiplus foi alvo de 400 reclamações desde setembro, quando foi inscrito no site ReclameAqui. Já a Dotz recebeu 474 reclamações e o Smiles teve registradas 608 queixas nos últimos três anos. A boa notícia é que as empresas costumam reagir a esse tipo de manifestação da insatisfação. Multiplus e Dotz respondem a todas as queixas dos consumidores.

A Dotz conseguiu chegar a uma solução satisfatória para o cliente em 94,2% dos casos – um dos maiores índices em todo o site ReclameAqui. Já o Multiplus convenceu nas respostas a 81,5% das ocorrências.

A única exceção é o Smiles, que nunca respondeu a nenhuma reclamação registrada no ReclameAqui, segundo o diretor de tecnologia do site, Diego Campos. Sem outra alternativa, o consumidor acaba procurando o SAC da empresa, que também fica congestionado.

Tópicos: Programas de milhagem, Empresas, Multiplus, Serviços diversos, Programas de fidelidade, Aviação, TAM, Setor de transporte, Serviços, Empresas abertas, Companhias aéreas, Empresas brasileiras

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18 Nov 17:19

Cats recognise their owners' voices but never evolved to care, says study

A new study from the University of Japan has confirmed this, showing that although pet cats are more than capable of recognising their owner’s voice they choose to ignore them - for reasons that are perhaps rooted in the evolutionary history of the animal.

Carried out by Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka, the study tested twenty housecats in their own homes; waiting until the owner was out of sight and then playing them recordings of three strangers calling their names, followed by their owner, followed by another stranger.

The researchers then analysed the cats’ responses to each call by measuring a number of factors including ear, tail and head movement, vocalization, eye dilation and ‘displacement’ – shifting their paws to move.

When hearing their names’ being called the cats displayed “orientating behaviour” (moving their heads and ears about to locate where the sound was coming from) and although they showed a greater response to their owner’s voices than strangers’, they declined to move when called by any of the volunteers.

“These results indicate that cats do not actively respond with communicative behavior to owners who are calling them from out of sight, even though they can distinguish their owners’ voices,” write Saito and Shinozuka. “This cat–owner relationship is in contrast to that with dogs.”

The study, published by Springer in the Animal Cognition journal, suggests that the reason for cats’ unresponsive behaviour might be traced back to the early domestication of the species, contrasting this with the relationship of humans to dogs.

Recent genetic analysis has revealed that the common ancestor of the modern housecat was Felis silvestris, a species of wildcat that first came into contact with humans around 9,000 years ago. As early societies developed agriculture, these cats moved in to prey on the rodents that were attracted to stores of grain. In the words of the paper’s authors, they effectively “domesticated themselves”.

“Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders. Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human–cat interaction.” This is in contrast to the history of dogs and humans, where the former has been bred over thousands of years to respond to orders and commands. Cats, it seems, never needed to learn.

It’s unlikely, however that this will dismay cat owners (or indeed, be of any surprise) and the paper notes that although “dogs are perceived by their owners as being more affectionate than cats […] dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets”.

The study concludes by observing that “the behavioural aspect of cats that cause their owners to become attached to them are still undetermined.”

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19 Nov 14:20

Hesiod’s Anvil

by Greg Ross

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acme_anvil.gif

How far off is heaven? In the Theogony Hesiod gives us a clue:

For a brazen anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach the earth upon the tenth; and again, a brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth.

How far can an anvil fall in nine days? Galileo, who taught that “the distances measured by the falling body increase according to the squares of the time,” would have determined that the anvil starts 2.96 × 109 km from earth, a distance greater than that between the sun and Uranus.

But Galileo’s calculation assumes that gravitational force is independent of the object’s distance from the earth. If we assume instead that it varies inversely with the square of the distance between mass centers (and if we ignore all masses except those of the earth and the anvil, and assume that the anvil falls in a straight line), King College mathematician Andrew Simoson calculates that Galileo’s anvil wouldn’t reach us for

hesiod's anvil calculation

Instead, under this new assumption, to reach us in nine days an anvil would start 5.81 × 105 km away — about one and a half times the distance between the earth and the moon.

(Andrew J. Simoson, Hesiod’s Anvil, 2007.)

18 Nov 20:15

Norway’s Sleek New Passports Contain a Surprise Design Feature

141117_EYE_NorweiganPassport1 The winning Norweigan passport cover redesign from Neue Design Studio includes an update of the current red passport, plus a blue version for diplomats and a white version for immigrants.

Courtesy of Neue Design Studio

On the heels of its new pixelated banknotes, Norway has now overhauled the look of its passport with a minimalist redesign that has a surprise feature on the inside.

When the passport is held under a UV light, a scene of the Norwegian landscape turns from day to night, revealing swirls meant to evoke the spectacular northern lights, and hidden text appears.

141117_EYE_Neue1 An illustration on the redesigned passport interior was inspired by the Norwegian landscape.

Courtesy of Neue Design Studio

141117_EYE_Neue2 Held under a UV light, the design turns into a night sky with swirls representing the country's northern lights, and hidden text appears.

Courtesy of Neue Design Studio

The winning design from Neue Design Studio was chosen by a jury for a design competition held by the country’s national police, who wanted to update the security features of its current passport, whose cover has all the stodgy bureaucratic pomposity of your average passport design. The new passport cover has a sleek, minimalist look (but not quite as minimal, it turns out, as this Norwegian passport from 1923). It includes an update of the current red passport, a blue iteration for diplomats, and a white and pale gray version for immigrants.

According to the studio, a translation of the generic-sounding design brief was “to find a unique concept with excellent design qualities and a theme that is widely accepted, presented through an appropriate and functional solution. The background for the competition was to increase the security of Norwegian passports, ID cards and travel document.” (Unfortunately, in the name of security, details about the design, color scheme, and UV light trick were not forthcoming. Neue Design Studio's Gorill Kvamme told me in an email: “We are a bit restricted with the information we can share, so the press release is the only document available, at least for the time being.”)

The widely accepted theme of the Norwegian landscape won the day.

“Nature has always been an essential part of the Norwegian identity and tradition,” the designers wrote in a press release. The jury called the winning look “the competition's most subtle and stylish solution. ... Aesthetically the landscape motifs have been given a distinctive look. The jury appreciates the simplicity of the solution.”

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18 Nov 20:20

Estéfi Machado: Manual prático para Filhos de primeira viagem * Como brincar com adultos em 10 passos













Manual prático para Filhos de primeira viagem, por Estéfi Machado *
{ Como brincar com adultos em 10 passos }

Muitas vezes os filhos de primeira viagem têm certa dificuldade para brincar com os adultos da maneira mais adequada.
Para que sejam momentos prazeirosos e de qualidade, é preciso entender como funciona esse ser em formação, o adulto.
Aqui vão dicas de como aplicar técnicas simples e conseguir com que esse momento aconteça frequentemente na sua rotina!

1. A primeira dica é:
Nunca chegue para o adulto pulando e gritando a frase "QUER BRINCAR COMIGO?"
Isso pode causar certa ansiedade e desconforto, e ele pode travar no início do que poderia ser uma potencial brincadeira.
Há frases mais sutis para conseguir isso, como por exemplo: "VEM VER UMA COISA AQUI NO MEU QUARTO", ou "OLHA O QUE EU INVENTEI HOJE NO TAPETE DA SALA!". Dessa maneira você atrai o adulto para o local da brincadeira naturalmente.

2. Estando no local da brincadeira, arrume um jeito de manter o adulto no seu patamar. Se estiver no chão, faça com que ele sente, se estiver numa mesa, não deixe que ele fique em pé apenas observando.
Dessa maneira ele se sente parte da cena.
Outra coisa importante: nessa fase os adultos precisam ter uma função. Mantenha suas mãos ocupadas com giz de cera ou blocos de montar e faça com que sua participação seja importante na brincadeira, assim ele se sente confiante e imprescindível!
Vale usar palavras de incentivo para que ele saiba que está conseguindo!

3. Uma vez com as mãos ocupadas, certifique-se de afastar todos os objetos perigosos do ambiente.
Adultos são altamente dispersos, e tendem a levar tudo que é aparelhinho retangular e luminoso para a boca, ouvidos e principalmente para a ponta dos dedos!
Pode parecer cuidado excessivo, mas as maiores tragédias com adultos acontecem em segundos, você se distrai e quando vê, já perdeu pro celular!
Para evitar acidentes, mantenha os objetos perigosos em lugares onde não possam ser alcançados, o que deve ser feito de forma discreta, para evitar um estresse desnecessário.

4. Durante a brincadeira mantenha sempre o contato físico com o adulto. O toque, beijos e abraços reforçam a importância dele ali.
Mas se você sentir um clima de cansaço no ar, lembre-se de NÃO fazer contato visual! O adulto é sedutor, ele vai tentar lançar um olharzinho de gato de botas e você pode cair na dele!

5. Se a brincadeira for longa, certifique-se de que o adulto esteja bem alimentado. Um adulto com fome pode ficar altamente irritado e abandonar a brincadeira!
Se for preciso, faça uma pausa para um lanche, mas lembre-se de acompanha-lo, ou ele poderá iniciar outra atividade no caminho! Lembre-se, os adultos são dispersos, mas não fazem por mal, é da natureza deles!

6. Uma regra muito importante, vital: NUNCA, JAMAIS acorde um adulto para brincar! Um adulto com sono é pior do que dois com fome.
Na hora você vai achar bom que ele acordou pra ficar com você, mas logo depois vai ver que as horas de mau-humor irritadiço e falta de energia não valem a pena!

7. É importante também saber que todo adulto tem e deve ter sua rotina.
É dessa forma que ele se sente seguro, pertencedor de um lugar.
Não é aconselhável estimulá-lo quando ele estiver no meio de suas atividades vitais, como por exemplo lendo jornal, vendo jogo na TV, fazendo cocô ou conversando com suas tias no telefone!

8. Quando você perceber que o adulto já se entregou ao momento da brincadeira, proponha algo que você saiba que ele realmente goste!
Não adianta chamar sua tia pra brincar de Hot Wheels ou seu padrinho pra fazer penteados na Barbie, você pode gastar fichas à toa!

9. Outra coisa que poucos filhos de primeira viagem sabem é que os adultos gostam de conversar! Sim! E muito!
E você pode falar de igual pra igual com eles, apesar de não saberem muito bem como se expressar, eles já conseguem entender certas palavras com clareza!
Conte sobre seu dia, a escola, a pracinha, os amigos, a babá, isso reforça os vínculos entre vocês, criando cumplicidade.
Não importa se ele não entender tudo que você disser, ele está ouvindo!

10. E por fim, tenha paciência!
Os adultos estão aprendendo, e faz parte do processo errar muitas vezes.
No começo é difícil, mas fazendo da brincadeira parte da rotina, quando você menos esperar, ele mesmo vai dar seus primeiros passinhos trêmulos em direção ao tapete da sala e vai balbuciar docemente: "QUER BRINCAR COMIGO?"

* Estéfi Machado é autora do blog www.estefimachado.com.br , mãe de um filho de primeira viagem, e terceira filha de uma viagem de 5, por isso sabe muito bem como brincar.

( vou adorar se você quiser compartilhar esse texto, só peço para que coloque a autoria e o link na repostagem! ;)
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18 Nov 21:00

nevver: Robotic Spacecraft Poster Series

19 Nov 07:53

Star Formation in the Tadpole Nebula

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2014 November 18
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Star Formation in the Tadpole Nebula
Image Credit: WISE, IRSA, NASA; Processing & Copyright : Francesco Antonucci

Explanation: Dusty emission in the Tadpole nebula, IC 410, lies about 12,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Auriga. The cloud of glowing gas is over 100 light-years across, sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from embedded open star cluster NGC 1893. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, bright cluster stars are seen all around the star-forming nebula. Notable near the image center are two relatively dense streamers of material trailing away from the nebula's central regions. Potentially sites of ongoing star formation in IC 410, these cosmic tadpole shapes are about 10 light-years long. The featured image was taken in infrared light by NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite.

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Tomorrow's picture: big spiral < | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
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A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

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19 Nov 17:00

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19 Nov 19:07

Escape From Microsoft Word by Edward Mendelson

David Levine

This post is about word processors, but I got the idea for it from something W. H. Auden once said about political philosophers. In 1947, talking with his learned young secretary about an anthology he was compiling, The Portable Greek Reader, he mentioned Isocrates, a Greek orator whose simple-seeming ideas about relations between rich and poor cities were sane and practical. Naïve-sounding Isocrates had solved problems for which Plato’s grand theories had no answer. “Isocrates reminds me of John Dewey,” Auden said. “He’s a mediocrity who’s usually right whereas Plato is a man of genius who’s always wrong.” Only a genius could have devised Plato’s theory of the forms—the invisible, intangible “ideas” that give shape to every visible, tangible thing. But the theory of forms is always wrong when applied to political thinking, as every experiment in ideal, utopian politics has proved.

Auden’s contrast between mediocrity that gets things right and genius that is always wrong is useful in thinking about many fields other than politics. Take, for example, the instruments used for writing. The word processor that most of the world uses every day, Microsoft Word, is a work of genius that’s almost always wrong as an instrument for writing prose. Almost-forgotten WordPerfect—once the most popular word-processing program, still used in a few law offices and government agencies, and here and there by some writers who remain loyal to it—is a mediocrity that’s almost always right. I submitted this post in a file created by the latest version of Word because Word is the lingua franca of publishing. But I wrote it in an ancient MS-DOS version of WordPerfect that hasn’t been updated since 1997, because WordPerfect is the instrument best suited to the way I think when I write.

The original design of Microsoft Word, in the early 1980s, was a work of clarifying genius, but it had nothing to do with the way writing gets done. The programmers did not think about writing as a sequence of words set down on a page, but instead dreamed up a new idea about what they called a “document.” This was effectively a Platonic idea: the “form” of a document existed as an intangible ideal, and each tangible book, essay, love letter, or laundry list was a partial, imperfect representation of that intangible idea.

A document, as Word’s creators imagined it, is a container for other ideal forms. Each document contains one or more “sections,” what everyone else calls chapters or other subdivisions. Each section contains one or more paragraphs. Each paragraph contains one or more characters. Documents, sections, paragraphs, and characters all have sets of attributes, most of which Word calls “styles.” A section can have its own margin settings; a paragraph can be indented or set in a specific font; a set of characters (such as one or more words) can be italicized, underlined, and printed in red, all by applying a single “style.” Even if you don’t apply a specific style, everything is governed by what Word calls the “normal” style. To complicate matters, Word also lets you apply what it calls “direct formatting,” in which, for example, you italicize a word without applying a separate style to that word alone.

On a typewriter, when you wanted to increase the left margin on the page, you moved a metal lever, then moved it back to decrease the margin again. To type a superscript (as in mc2) you rotated the carriage slightly, typed the superscripted letter, then rotated the carriage back again. In effect, you progressed in sequence from one set of conditions to another. Things changed as you typed.

In Microsoft Word (as in all other word processors built on the same model, including Apple’s Pages), the underlying model is static, like a Platonic idea. In effect, you “paint” a whole section with its own margin settings, and you “paint” a character with the superscript attribute.

I’ve been vaguely aware of Word’s Platonic ideas since I learned, years ago, that I had to create a new section when I wanted to change the page margins. But I didn’t realize how bizarrely Platonic Word can be until I started using it to create the manuscript of a complete edition of Auden’s prose. At the foot of each essay and review, the edition has a line indicating its source, for example, “The New York Review of Books, 2 May 1965,” or “The New Yorker, 27 September 1966.” While preparing the file for the publisher, I applied to all these lines a style named “Article Source”; this style arranged the lines so they were aligned at the right margin, and added a line space above and below. I was puzzled to see that when I applied the style, Word sometimes removed the italics from the magazine title but sometimes didn’t, for no obvious reason. When I applied the style to the first of my two examples, the italics disappeared; when I applied it to the second, the italics remained.

A friend at Microsoft, speaking not for attribution, solved the mystery. Word, it seems, obeys the following rule: when a “style” is applied to text that is more than 50 percent “direct-formatted” (like the italics I applied to the magazine titles), then the “style” removes the direct formatting. So The New York Review of Books (with the three-letter month May) lost its italics. When less than 50 percent of the text is “direct-formatted,” as in the example with The New Yorker (with the nine-letter month September), the direct-formatting is retained.

No writer has ever thought about the exact percentage of italics in a line of type, but Word is reduced to this kind of arbitrary principle because its Platonic model—like all Platonic models—is magnificent in its inner coherence but mostly irrelevant to the real world. In order to make a connection between heavenly ideas and tangible realities, Plato himself was reduced to inventing something he called the Demiurge, an intermediate being who translates the ideal forms in heaven into something tangible in the world. The Demiurge is an early instance of what programmers call a kludge—a clumsy and illogical expedient for dealing with a problem that seems too intractable to solve more elegantly. Word’s 50-percent rule for applying styles is a descendent of the Demiurge, and just as much of a kludge.

The inventors of WordPerfect had no grand ideas about the form of a document. Instead they looked over typists’ shoulders and tried to find ways of imitating their actions on a computer keyboard. So, when you want to change the margin in WordPerfect, you press a few keys to perform the computer equivalent of pushing the lever on a typewriter. You change the margin, and then, later, you might change it back again. Word’s intellectual model is effectively timeless: you paint the text with its attributes. WordPerfect’s is active and progressive: you change a setting, continue typing, and then change some other setting. Auden’s word “mediocrity” seems too strong to apply to WordPerfect, as it was too strong to apply to Isocrates or John Dewey, both of whom had something very like genius in their clear-sighted, unprejudiced perception of the world as it is.

Despite its underlying idea, Microsoft Word, of course, has evolved over the years so that it lets you work more or less as you do in WordPerfect, turning on italics and then turning them off again. But if you do anything more complex, you still find yourself deep in Word’s arcane Platonism, which is too deeply ingrained in the program ever to be replaced.

Intelligent writers can produce intelligent prose using almost any instrument, but the medium in which they write will always have some more or less subtle effect on their prose. Karl Popper famously denounced Platonic politics, and the resulting fantasies of a closed, unchanging society, in his book The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). When I work in Word, for all its luxuriant menus and dazzling prowess, I can’t escape a faint sense of having entered a closed, rule-bound society. When I write in WordPerfect, with all its scruffy, low-tech simplicity, the world seems more open, a place where endings can’t be predicted, where freedom might be real.

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19 Nov 19:24

For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S. | Longreads Blog

The third of 10 children, Annie Buelin barely remembers when her father was taken to a home for the mentally ill in Virginia. He was already in his 60s when he married her mother and set up a household in Flat Rock, North Carolina, but Buelin isn’t sure if it was senility or something else that caused him to lose his mind. Buelin’s mother — 15 when she married, with a third-grade education — supported her children through welfare, working in tobacco fields, and doing washing and ironing for her neighbors. She hardly had time to keep up with all of her children.

As a child, Buelin dreaded going to school. She received free lunch, and everyone knew it. She didn’t have nice clothes, and she and her brothers and sisters were left out of school plays and celebrations. She sat in the back of the classroom and tried not to draw attention to herself, and she was too nervous to answer when her teachers called on her. “People laughed at us because we didn’t have money,” she remembers. “It didn’t bother my siblings as much, but that kept me tore up.”

At age 12, Beulin stopped attending school, instead working as a live-in babysitter for neighbors whose long shifts in the mills kept them away from home. She earned $15 a week doing housework, cooking, and childcare. It was hard work, but she didn’t mind it. She was able to contribute to her family’s finances, and she enjoyed caring for the children.

Soon, though, local officials noticed her truancy. One day, a social worker appeared and took her to the county welfare office to give her a test. “They didn’t tell me what the test was, or what it was for,” Buelin says. Later, her sister would tell her that the test had found she had the IQ of a 7- or 8-year old.

The social worker told Buelin she had to go back to school, or else she would have to have an operation that would prevent her from having children. “‘Well, I’m not a-going,’” she remembers telling the social worker.

When the day came for her surgery, she walked the half-mile driveway to the road alone. A nurse picked her up and took her to the hospital in nearby Elkin, where she was admitted. Buelin never had a chance to see the paperwork; the nurse filled it all out and signed it for her. She doesn’t remember much about the operation itself, but she vividly recalls returning from the hospital, five days later.

“No one was there when I got home,” she says. She was still in pain from the surgery, but she walked until she found her mother at work in a nearby tobacco field. They didn’t talk about what happened.

“She just did the best she knew how,” Buelin says. “She let people run over her. She didn’t realize she had any other choice.”

In fact, her mother likely didn’t have any other choice. Had she refused consent, the Eugenics Board would have held a hearing to review Buelin’s case in Raleigh, more than three hours away, and could have overruled her mother’s objections based on Buelin’s test scores and the conditions of her home. It’s possible they would have declared her mother incompetent, even if she could attend the hearing, and assigned a guardian ad litem to make the decision for her.

After the surgery, Buelin didn’t tell any of her friends what had happened to her. At church, some people knew, but no one mentioned it or asked how she was doing. Her surgery wasn’t discussed much among her family either, though her brother-in-law warned her that she’d better tell any man she planned to marry. Buelin saw a doctor in the hope that the procedure could be reversed, but after an exam was told that her fallopian tubes had not been tied but severed. She’d had a complete, irreversible salpingectomy.

The 1948 manual of the North Carolina Eugenics Board repeats the claim, made in the 1935 manual and derived from the California legislation, that sterilization is not a punishment but a kindness. In the eyes of the Eugenics Board, Buelin would not be stigmatized or humiliated as a result of her surgery, and her community would not shun her. Her married life would be happy — happier, since her future husband would not have to fear for the welfare of their children. The surgery would have no effect on her life, the manual insisted, other than preventing parenthood.

* * *

Eight

Pronatalism is the widely accepted cultural idea that biological parenthood and family life are not only normal, but necessary for the successful transition to adult life. Aside from a slight dip in the 1970s, America has been a distinctly pronatalist country, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, promoting idealized visions of family life through film, television, and advertising. It was particularly strong around the time that the North Carolina sterilization program reached its peak. Surveys taken in 1945, 1955, and 1960 found that zero percent of Americans considered no children the ideal family size.

Many researchers believe that the desire to have children is not only the expression of a cultural desire to fit in and be validated, but an inherent, inborn need. Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson was the first to describe ego development as a lifelong process that lasts into adulthood. Adults’ primary challenge, according to Erikson, is generativity versus stagnation, with the core of generativity expressed through raising the next generation, especially through parenting or caring for others. Stagnation occurs when adults are unable to satisfy their need for generativity, and can result in depression and emotional stunting.

More recently, evolutionary psychologist Douglas Kendrick suggested a revision of Maslow’s classic hierarchy of needs, replacing the ultimate goal of self-actualization, the desire to fulfill one’s potential, with parenting, the desire to care for one’s offspring and other relatives. The Americans with Disabilities Act has recognized infertility — the inability to become pregnant after trying for one year — as a disability. And reproduction, according to the Supreme Court, qualifies as a “major life activity.”

My own depression started after about two years of trying without success to conceive. I avoided people I loved and felt isolated from everyone except my husband and my few childless (or childfree) friends. Although I don’t consider myself disabled and find Kendrick’s model to be too narrow, I also understand that we live in a world — a pronatalist one — where many people feel that you aren’t really an adult until you are a parent.

Buelin watched her siblings grow up and have children, as well as friends and coworkers at the textile mills where she eventually worked. She was happy for them, she insists, but she never talked about what happened to prevent her from having children of her own. “Lord have mercy, I loved children,” she says. “Whenever I saw someone who was going to have a baby, I thought they were so pretty.”

Buelin’s first marriage was troubled. Her husband drank and ran around on her, and she thinks he blamed her for what had happened, years before. People at work sometimes asked her why she didn’t have kids, but Buelin never told them. “I didn’t want to talk about it,” she says. “I think I was just ashamed, or hurt, I don’t know which.”

Her first husband died young, leaving Buelin alone and depressed. She saw a psychiatrist several times in her 30s, but they never talked about her sterilization or childlessness. “It got to the point where I didn’t even want to go to church,” says Buelin. “And I always went to church.”

Willis Lynch found relationships difficult, too. When he was young and working in maintenance for the city of Richmond, he began dating a woman who already had one child and was expecting another. The baby’s biological father was in jail for robbing phone booths and wasn’t around for the birth, which Lynch found deplorable. He married her just eight days after she gave birth, and Lynch grew close with the younger child. But after a few years, his wife left him for another man. “She took me for a meal ticket,” he figures. “But I didn’t regret it ’cause of those kids. I loved those kids.”

Lynch never remarried, and like Buelin rarely spoke about what had happened to him. It was too hard to explain, when so many people had never even heard about the sterilizations or the eugenics movement. He lost touch with his ex-wife’s children.

Despite the general acknowledgement that parenting is a crucial milestone, it is not hard to find those who think, even today, that some people should not have that option. To read the comments section of any online discussion of North Carolina’s eugenics program is to find a significant percentage of readers who are uncomfortable with dismissing the program outright.

Here are just a few of the comments I found online in response to a local news story about compensation, an online photo essay depicting the victims on the Mother Jones Web site, and the online transcript of an NPR story about North Carolina’s eugenics program:

I do not understand the underlying premise that forced sterilization is somehow “wrong.” That seems to be taken for granted but no one has made the case for it. Can anyone explain this? How is forced sterilization not completely consistent with what is taught in our public schools to the effect that only the most fit should survive?

 Is it or is it not a good idea to encourage persons with developmental disabilities NOT to have children?

 The idea of humans having to accomplish something in their life before breeding is actually sound. We are in a world economy … Those that can not complete high school or are not able to keep a job or produce something tangible that is worthwhile should not be breeding…. I would suggest ALL men and women be temporarily sterilized at adolescence- Norplant for women, vasectomies for men.

Once they have become contributing members of society through formal education, technical school, or have remained employed and no felonious crimes for over 5 years – then they should be allowed to breed.

Online forums are a popular place for people to express ideas they might not feel comfortable sharing in person, but I have heard similar arguments expressed within the context of the public school system. Biology students learning about genetics for the first time will often wonder, why can’t we just get rid of dumb people? And a common refrain expressed by frustrated teachers, out of earshot of students and parents, is this: If you need a license to drive, you should certainly have to get a license to have kids.

* * *

Nine

Willis Lynch doesn’t remember exactly when he first heard about North Carolina’s Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, the organization tasked with contacting and verifying victims of the state’s eugenics program. A friend of his, one of the few who knew what had been done to him, saw something about the foundation on television and gave Lynch the contact information. Not wanting to wait for a response by mail, Lynch drove his Ford EXP to the Caswell Training Center in Kinston, where he once milked cows in the early morning and was only allowed recreation on Friday nights. Caswell operates today as a residential home for the mentally handicapped though it no longer serves children, and the farm was sold years ago. He requested and received the papers certifying his admission to the center, as well as a complicated chain of letters related to his sterilization.

Reading carefully through the correspondence between Caswell and the Eugenics Board of North Carolina, Lynch realized that their original target was not him but his mother. In August 1947, not long after his 14th birthday, Elsie Parker, secretary for the Eugenics Board, wrote to Dr. W.T. Parrott, superintendent at Caswell, requesting information about Lynch’s suitability for sterilization. Parker wrote, “The mother had been receiving aid to dependent children but the payment was terminated at one point because it was not considered a safe and proper home. At that time the mother requested a sterilization operation. Authorization was granted on the basis of feeble-mindedness. The operation was, however, never performed.”

Parrott wrote back to the Eugenics Board almost immediately: “We have your letter of August 13th in regard to the sterilization of the above named child. We would like to have this operation done. Willis has an I.Q. of 58. Thanks.” Still, it took until April 1948 for the Eugenics Board and Caswell to secure her consent for her son’s vasectomy.

Lynch doubts that his mother would have ever consented to her own sterilization. “Mama loved kids,” he says. But he understands that she might have felt pressure to agree to his operation in order to maintain her family’s welfare benefits. What work she could find paid too little to care for seven children, and two had already been removed from her home to live in institutions (one of his sisters had been sent to a home in Virginia). He returned home in 1951, but never talked with his mother about the operation or what it meant for his life.

Lynch drove the Caswell papers to Raleigh himself rather than trusting them to the mail. It was there that he first met Larry Womble, the first of North Carolina’s legislators to become an advocate for compensation. Lynch testified about his experience in a matter of minutes — he calls his story “short and bitter” — then sat down again among the other victims.

Railey, the reporter who first brought the eugenics program to statewide and national attention, remembers talking on the phone to Lynch after getting his number from Womble, then driving to meet him in the parking lot of the Littleton Piggly Wiggly.  They sat in the cab of Railey’s truck and talked about Lynch’s experience at Caswell, the dawning realization, months after the surgery, that he’d been given a vasectomy. They talked about his time in the service, as a rifleman, about the mechanic trade Lynch learned on his own, about his love for country music.

For three years now, Railey has talked with Lynch once a week about the progress of legislation. “He’ll call me on a Friday, usually. He’ll say ‘What do you hear? What do you know?’”

In his many articles, editorials, and columns about the program, Railey has often relied on Lynch for insight into the experience of the victims. “Willis is kind of an elder statesman of this movement,” says Railey. “He’s the oldest victim who speaks about it regularly. He’s very aware, but not in a bleak sense, of his own mortality.”

Railey, who considers Lynch a friend, is aware of it, too. “He’s close to his nephew, but he doesn’t have anyone else. When he’s gone, he’s gone.”

* * *

Ten

Few if any studies have been made about the psychological damage of sterility, but there is evidence that infertility, as a stressor, is equivalent to the experience of living with cancer, HIV, or other chronic illnesses. “It’s such an assault to your identity,” says Dr. Marni Rosner, a New York-based psychotherapist and author of a lengthy study examining infertility as traumatic loss. “Physically, mentally, socially, spiritually.”

Rosner’s study focused on women whose backgrounds are far different from victims of eugenics; they are comparatively wealthy and well-connected, with access to mental health care and other support systems. Still, they struggle in similar ways. They mention feeling isolated from their churches, especially on Mother’s Day, when many congregations have special recognition for mothers and expectant mothers. They experience shame, depression, grief, envy, and difficulty communicating with spouses, family, and friends. Marriages experiencing long-term infertility tend to suffer sexually as well as emotionally, and infertile couples often feel disconnected from friends and siblings moving into the parenting phase of their lives.

Rosner was the first in her field to fully explore the way infertility traumatically impacts almost every area of life, and was questioned about her use of the phrase “reproductive trauma” during her dissertation defense. I have experienced it myself, in five years of trying to conceive: each time a friend or relative becomes pregnant, each child-centered holiday, each reminder of childlessness, is a fresh experience of grief. “It’s not concrete,” she allows. “The losses are hidden. But with reproductive trauma, the losses happen over and over again.”

Compounding this sense of loss is the inability of many infertile people to talk about their experiences. I have experienced this also; when invited to speak at a church service for infertile women and men, I found that I was barely able to raise my voice above a whisper. As Rosner writes in her study, “There are no clear norms for grieving a dream.” Fear of having one’s loss diminished and the desire not to offend or upset those with children reinforce the silence that is a manifestation of what writer and grief counseling expert Kenneth Doka called “disenfranchised grief”: “the grief that persons experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported.”

It isn’t surprising that sterilization victims have experienced all of those losses — social isolation, depression, trouble in their romantic relationships — but also, perhaps to an even greater extent, disenfranchised grief. Because their inability to have children was not a consequence of biology but a decision made by another, they feel lifelong shame at being deemed “unfit.” At the hearings held by North Carolina’s task force to determine the method of compensation, several of the speakers were in tears as they told their stories. Some who suspected they were targeted and sterilized refused to go through the process of verification necessary to make them eligible for possible compensation. They didn’t want to know the truth.

“It would really be wonderful if, when one of these victims told of what had happened, there was general understanding of what exactly that meant, psychologically, and the life-long implications of the infertility itself,” says Rosner.

When I first met Lynch and Buelin, I had been attending a support group for people experiencing infertility for more than a year. Each month, my husband and I drove to Raleigh to sit in a chilly hospital basement and listen to other women and men tell their stories: the years of trying and failing to conceive, the difficult and painful medical procedures, the feelings of jealousy and longing that never seemed to go away. Most of the other couples were, like us, in stable relationships, with the means to pursue some sort of treatment and the hope that these treatments might one day work. If nothing else, we had those meetings. Once a month, for two hours, we knew we could talk to other people who understood.

Lynch and Buelin have never attended a support group; Buelin, who has transportation issues, has never been able to attend a public hearing, though she once attended a church service with Railey that recognized sterilization victims. The children they don’t have are in many ways just like the children we don’t have — they are people who don’t exist, people we’ve only dreamed about, some of us since we were children ourselves. But there is one difference, which shows up in the dismissive tone taken by opponents to compensation. Lynch and Buelin’s children would be poor.

* * *

Eleven

Among the many artifacts of the eugenics era collected in North Carolina’s state archives is a pamphlet produced in 1950 by a group called The Human Betterment League. “You Wouldn’t Expect…” was circulated to citizens to gain financial and political support for what it referred to as “North Carolina’s humanitarian Selective Sterilization Law.” Written and illustrated in the style of a children’s book, the 12-page pamphlet begins, “You wouldn’t expect… a moron to run a train, or a feebleminded woman to teach school.” Subsequent illustrations depict “mental defectives” crashing cars and fumbling with money, then asks why the “feebleminded” are allowed the most important job of all: parenthood.

“The job of parenthood is too much to expect of feebleminded men and women,” the pamphlet reads. “They should be protected from jobs for which they are not qualified.” The flat colors, large type, simple text, and stylized illustrations, call the intended audience into question. Was it meant to convince those whom the state aimed to keep from reproducing? To bring their limited capacities to mind among the “normal” adult recipients? Or was it merely intended to reference the children it meant to save from “mental affliction and unwholesome surroundings?”

Elaine Riddick is one of the most outspoken victims of North Carolina’s sterilization program. She has appeared on NBC’s Rock Center and on Al Jazeera, and has been interviewed by reporters from across the country. Like Lynch, she was 14 when she was sterilized, immediately following the birth, by Cesarean section, of a son, her only child. Although Riddick scored above the state’s IQ threshold of 75, the five-person Eugenics Board approved the recommendation for her sterilization, labeling Riddick “feebleminded” and “promiscuous” and noting that her schoolwork was poor and that she did not get along well with others.

“I am not feebleminded,” Riddick told members of the task force in June 2011. “I came from a very rural area of North Carolina. I couldn’t get along well with others because I was hungry, I was cold, I was dirty, I was unkempt, I was a victim of rape. I was a victim of child abuse and neglect.” Riddick, who was frequent witness to her father’s physical abuse of her mother, was raped at age 13 by a neighbor in his 20s. She says she didn’t know anything about sex other than that “it was ugly and it hurt.”

At 59, she is also one of the youngest victims to come forward. Riddick’s sterilization, in 1967, came at the end of North Carolina’s peak years: 1946 to 1968, when the state performed 5,368 operations on its residents under the authority of the Eugenics Board. By the time of Riddick’s procedure, most other states had abandoned or scaled back their programs, in part due to postwar revelations about Nazi forced sterilizations. States were also motivated by legal concerns raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942), which held that sterilization could not be used as punishment for a crime. In North Carolina, though, the focus merely shifted to an even more vulnerable demographic, targeting more black women and girls than any other group. Riddick, who is black, was a victim of this shift.

After the surgery, Riddick had experienced frequent hemorrhaging, and her period lengthened to 17 days a month, but she did not learn of her sterilization until she was 19, when she began to wonder why she and her husband could not conceive. Her illiterate grandmother, she discovered, had consented with an “X” to a complete salpingectomy.

Riddick’s husband reacted violently to the news, threatening her and calling her barren. Eventually she had to have a complete hysterectomy. She went to a clinic to talk to someone about her emotional distress and was given prescriptions for Haldol and Prozac. “I was catatonic,” she says. “Humiliated. I felt like everyone knew. And then, on top of that, I blamed myself.”

Riddick, who was raised by alcoholic parents and who left school in eighth grade, suffered two bad marriages and a period of drug dependency and homelessness, seems on the surface an example of someone ill-equipped for parenting, likely to produce offspring destined to follow in her own impoverished footsteps. Her principal told the social worker who pursued Riddick’s sterilization that she would never be able to take care of herself, much less a child.

But that isn’t Riddick’s story, not by a long shot. Though she never finished (or even entered) high school, she managed to continue her education, first with a medical aid degree, and then with a degree in social work. “I realized if I didn’t get a little education, God knows what might have happened to me,” she says.

She was among the first to bring a civil case against the state of North Carolina, a case she lost, in the 1970s, but which gave her experience speaking in public and enduring the scrutiny of strangers. Her son, Tony, is a successful entrepreneur who often accompanies his mother to public hearings and speaking events, where he rails against what he calls “North Carolina’s genocide.”

Together, this fiercely intelligent mother-and-son pair stand in defiance of the “science” of eugenics, which, relying on faulty or missing information to make its claims of heritability of traits, was long ago discredited. No gene was ever isolated for bad character or poverty, and it was impossible to separate the circumstances of individuals — Riddick, for her part, remembers going to school hungry each day — from their performance in school or on IQ tests. The tests themselves, the primary method used to determine “feeblemindedness,” have long been seen as flawed, disproportionately penalizing minorities and low-income people.

“It was so close … the timing was so significant, that perhaps that if it were just the next pregnancy, I wouldn’t be able to stand here and speak before you,” Tony Riddick told the task force, right after his mother spoke. “I’d like to give God all the honor and praise for this delicate moment.”

* * *

Twelve

How could the state account, then, for all those who were not born? For Willis Lynch and Annie Buelin and Elaine Riddick’s missing children, and the missing children of the thousands of others who were sterilized? And how to account for the physical and emotional pain the victims experienced: the years of “female trouble,” the broken marriages fraught with physical and emotional abuse, the isolation?

In early 2012, the task force that spent 2 years reviewing documents and listening to victims’ stories acknowledged that “no amount of money can adequately pay for the harm done to these citizens.” It then recommended a package of compensation and recognition: lump sum payments of $50,000 to verified living victims, mental health services, funding for a memorial, and more funding to help the foundation locate and verify others who had been sterilized and were still alive. Though some still felt that the suggested payments were not enough —  Riddick called it “an insult” — others were relieved to see an amount more than double the $20,000 proposed in 2011. At one hearing, Lynch urged the Legislature to hurry up and approve compensation before he died.

Despite the obvious pain of the victims, their relative lack of access to mental health care, consensus that the program was a disgrace, and bipartisan support from the House of Representatives (the bill was advanced by Thom Tillis, a Republican, and longtime victims’ advocate Larry Womble, a Democrat), some felt that the proposed compensation was too generous. Others worried that the financial burden was too much for the state to bear — the task force estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 victims were still alive — or that offering compensation would create a slippery slope of liability, inviting all sorts of wronged parties to seek money from the state.

“You just can’t rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country,” said state Sen. Don East, a Republican, who opposed compensation. (East died last fall.) “I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away. It still happened.” Though the House approved the compensation, which amounted to $11 million in the state’s more than $20 billion budget, the Senate refused to consider it. In June 2012, the Legislature passed a budget that offered zero funding to the victims, effectively shuttering the North Carolina Justice for Victims of Sterilization Foundation.

Victims, many of whom had traveled hundreds of miles to speak multiple times at public hearings, expressed a mix of disbelief, disappointment, and frustration.

“Everybody I know agrees with [compensation],” Lynch said.

“They can find money for everything else,” Buelin said.

Riddick, who has sought compensation for almost 30 years, was confounded by the arguments that sterilizations were perpetrated a long time ago, and that the people in power now have no connection to that past. “No one in the Senate is over 59?” she asked, referring to her age. “Their tax dollars went towards what happened, and they benefitted from the [welfare] savings that came out of that program.”

East was steadfast. “I just don’t think money fixes it.”

On that matter, at least, there is some agreement. “You cannot put a price tag on motherhood,” Riddick said.

I asked her what she would have given to have more children. “That is so easy. I would have given up my life. My whole life.”

* * *

Thirteen

If monetary compensation will not address the wrongs done to the 7,600 people sterilized by the state of North Carolina, then what is the point of adding millions of dollars to the budget of a state with a struggling economy? The answer may lie with the legal theory of transitional justice, a method of confronting legacies of human rights abuses through criminal prosecution, truth commissions, reparations, and institutional reform. Transitional justice addresses the primary objections of those resistant to expensive, government-funded programs, namely that financial compensation will not make victims whole again, and taxpayers should not have to pay for something they did not do. The practice can be traced back to the Nuremberg Trials, and more recent examples include the truth commissions in South Africa, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.

(Though the genocide and war crimes investigated by those trials and commissions may seem far removed from the experiences of those targeted by North Carolina’s Eugenics Board, forced sterilization is in fact a violation of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Article XVI, which states: “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. [...] The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” According to the United Nations, measures disrupting the reproductive acts of a group can also be considered genocide.)

David Gray, a University of Maryland law professor, has written that transitional justice is not a matter of “ordinary justice.” It is not about making victims whole again, as in tort law (often, for instance in the case of genocide, nothing will do that), or about the assignment of blame for past wrongs. Gray says transitional justice is “Janus-faced,” ideally addressing both “an abusive past and a future committed to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.” Monetary compensation does not seek to restore the victims to their earlier conditions but to help correct the status injustice they experienced, and also to establish a “pre-commitment” from the state that the wrong they experienced will never happen again. According to Gray, the cost is best borne by the state, even if those in power were not involved or even alive during the time of the abuses, as an expression of that commitment. “‘I didn’t do it’ is a non sequitur when the fundamental question is ‘How do we make it right?’”

I asked Gray how the victims of North Carolina could both recognize the state’s abusive past and ensure that it never happens again.

His first suggestion was a public, accessible archive of documents related to the program (one already exists online, but is not comprehensive). “That way,” he said, “there can never be a dispute about what happened.” In addition to the archive, he suggested a public display or monument that would not only provide recognition to those who were sterilized, but would challenge the public to ask themselves, as the Holocaust Museum in Washington challenges its visitors, what would I have done? This lines up with the recommendations of the task force to create both permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as an ongoing oral history project to “tell the full story of eugenics in North Carolina.”

Gray differed with the task force, however, in how to approach compensation. Instead of awarding each victim the same amount, he suggested a fund administrator be retained to listen to each victim’s story and determine an amount based on individual experience, including physical and emotional suffering. This approach would likely result in payments roughly equivalent to the $50,000 proposed, but individualized approaches are often more palatable to detractors, said Gray. “There’s a difference between equality and uniformity. You’re recognizing the wrong, while compensating the harm.”

Though there is a danger that victims would feel divided by such an approach, one potential benefit to Gray’s suggestion would be the opportunity for all victims to have their stories heard, if not publicly, then privately. This could have a therapeutic effect on many, says psychotherapist Marni Rosner.

“Many shamed and traumatized people rarely tell their story for fear of being shamed and traumatized again, or receiving yet another unhelpful response. It’s possible that some have never had the opportunity to tell their story, from beginning to end, without interruption, to someone that is truly interested and listening attentively. This can be extremely cathartic,” she says. When an empathic witness hears the story of traumas, according to Rosner, something shifts. The brain is rewired to make room for a new, non-shaming response.

Riddick, who has told her story again and again to audiences large and small, local and international, puts it more simply: “Through talking, I starting shedding off pieces of my shame. I had to get rid of all that shame if I wanted to live.”

* * *

Fourteen

Willis Lynch and other victims of sterilization have an intuitive sense of the way transitional justice should work, and they see examples everywhere that support the rightness of their quest. Look at the compensation awarded to Japanese internment victims, they say. Or the wall of names at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They speak, at hearings, of genocide and Nazis, and they want the state to pay for what it did. They want something lasting and significant to mark what they have been through. They want a public legacy.

For the objection raised most often by North Carolina’s resistant legislators — the state cannot afford to compensate all of the potential victims — Willis Lynch has an easy answer: It’s the state’s responsibility to pay for its mistake, a mistake it should have understood was wrong in the first place. “Look at what they do for people put in jail, people who were innocent,” he says, referring to the compensation offered by many states, on the order of $50,000 per year of incarceration, to the wrongfully convicted. “They lost their freedom, but they weren’t cut open like hogs.”

On a warm spring Friday, I drive to Norlina to watch Lynch perform at one of the “Norlina Jamborees” held at his VFW hall. It is the day of George Jones’s death, and many of the performers have chosen songs to honor the country crooner: “Jones on the Jukebox,” “A Picture of Me (Without You),” “White Lightning.” Lynch sits in the corner of the stage, his usual spot, and strums along.

I think about why his easy answer has not worked so far, why people are still uncomfortable with the idea of connecting monetary compensation to the loss of reproductive ability. The compensation in his example, afforded to wrongfully convicted inmates, is structured to replace lost wages. Japanese internment victims, likewise, received payments meant to compensate for the harm done to their businesses and earning ability. It is much more difficult to establish the value of children who never existed.

Or is it? Sitting in the audience of the darkened VFW hall, I shift uncomfortably in my newly tight jeans. I am 10 weeks pregnant, my condition invisible to everyone but me. Also invisible is the $25,000 I have paid doctors to achieve and sustain my pregnancy, the 3 years of trying and despairing and saving up money, the 2 years of difficult and invasive treatments. My experience with infertility, an unlucky circumstance rather than a state-sponsored violence, is nothing compared to what Lynch and others like him have endured. Yet I understand something of the isolation, the sadness, and even the shame that comes with not being able to have the child you always dreamed of, especially when others seem to be able to have children so easily. I also know, better than many, what people with the resources and will to pursue fertility treatment will pay in order to conceive. All of our money — all of it.

There is another cost of sterility to be considered, which is the cost of spending your later years alone, without the support network of traditional family life. The 75 or 100 men and women who have come to dance and perform at the VFW hall have a lot in common with Lynch: They are mostly country people, retired, but in evident good health as they shuffle and spin around the varnished wood floor. Still, more of them than not are couples, and it isn’t hard to imagine that they have children and grandchildren nearby to help them with things that get harder with age: home repair, trips to the doctor, legal matters. If there are repairs to be done at Lynch’s home, he does them himself. If he has a doctor’s appointment, he drives himself two hours north to the VA hospital in Richmond. His car, with its modified headlights and more than 700,000-mile history, has only one seat, for the driver.

At the VFW hall, Lynch is alone and yet not alone. He sits on a folding chair at the front of the room among about a dozen other performers. One by one, they go to the microphone and sing a number of their choosing, backed by the rest of the group. Finally it is his turn, and he gets up to play the song he’s promised me, Marty Robbins’s “Devil Woman,” a song about wrongs and forgiveness, and which shows off his falsetto:

I told Mary about us, told her about our great sin

Mary just cried and forgave me, Mary took me back again

The crowd’s best dancers take the floor, and afterward I watch Lynch accept praise and nods of appreciation from friends and acquaintances. He doesn’t linger to talk with anyone, though, and soon makes for the kitchen at the back of the room. How many of his peers know about his situation, I wonder? How many of them know how much he loves kids, how much he wishes for children and grandchildren?

It is a paradox that Lynch and others like him experienced the most intimate loss of privacy, the invasion of the state into their reproductive lives, but because we consider reproduction “private,” we have little way of talking about or evaluating their loss. At the final victims’ hearing, even then-Gov. Perdue seemed to be uncomfortable. She came in late and spoke hurriedly, saying that she was not attending in an official capacity.

“It’s hard for me to accept or to understand or to even try to figure out why these kinds of atrocious acts could have been committed in this country and I’m being told more than 30 states. I find it reprehensible,” she said. “But, I just came here as a woman, as a mama and as a grandma and as Governor of this state, quite frankly to tell you it’s wrong.” She spoke briefly of her support for compensation and thanked the victims in attendance for their courage, then left without talking to them individually.

Lynch, who’d sat next to John Railey during the meeting, called his journalist friend on the way back to Littleton. “I didn’t think much of her,” he told Railey. “I’m not too hopeful.”

* * *

Fifteen

The word “sterile” has two meanings: free from germs or contaminants; and fruitless, or unable to produce offspring. Using outdated, scientifically dubious ideas, the eugenics program in North Carolina conflated these two definitions. It sought to cleanse the state of the contamination of poverty, disability, and mental illness by surgically preventing thousands of men, women, and children from ever having biological children. It happened in every one of the state’s 100 counties: to men and women; to blacks, whites, and Native Americans; to those who already had offspring and to those who had not yet entered puberty. For some, it took years to accept that their sterilizations were permanent. Others bore the bitter understanding immediately, and thought of it daily.

All of the victims who testified before the Task Force to Determine the Method of Compensation for Victims of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board confronted painful, often shameful memories to speak before strangers, on the good-faith assumption that their words would have an impact. They would finally receive official recognition and the assurance that nothing like this would ever happen again in their state. Though they could never be made whole, they would receive financial support that would make some kind of difference in their lives.

To date, two things have happened, officially. The state included brief language about the eugenics program in the revised American History and Grade 8 Social Studies curriculum. And in 2009, it erected a new historical marker near the site in Raleigh where the Eugenics Board once met. The marker looks similar to the hundreds of other silver-and-black signs commemorating presidential visits, significant birthplaces, and Revolutionary War battles across the state. It reads:

EUGENICS BOARD

State action led to the sterilization by choice or coercion of over 7,600 people, 1933-1973. Met after 1939 one block E.

The marker does not come close to the permanent and traveling memorials envisioned by the victims, who wanted something to teach people about injustice, someplace the public could visit to pay their respects, to grieve, and to make amends. They have also yet to receive a dollar from the state.

Still, the most outspoken victims have experienced, on their own, what psychologists call “post-traumatic growth”: positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. Post-traumatic growth can be expressed in a number of ways: through new and satisfying relationships, through greater personal strength and vulnerability, or through creative outlets or other forms of self-expression.

Annie Buelin experienced growth and generativity through her faith. After suffering a long period of depression and spiritual isolation, she says, “I thought, I’m going to go somewhere to church.” A friend from the chicken plant where she worked invited Annie to hers. She went and even felt comfortable enough to ask the congregants to pray for an end to her depression.

That church was also where she met Woodrow. They sat near each other in the choir at an Easter Sunday evening service; Annie, an alto, noticed Woodrow’s strong bass singing voice, and was impressed when he sang a song he’d written himself. After church, Woodrow asked Annie if she’d like to have a poem. He borrowed a pen and paper and wrote one out for her, then added his phone number at the end.

Annie remembers talking with Woodrow for more than two hours the first time she called him, and his delight at hearing her voice: “He said he was walking the floor, waiting for me to call.” They dated for over a year before they married, going to church functions and getting together with Woodrow’s large family for potlucks and holidays. “I told Woodrow right off when we talked about getting married,” she says. “He said, that’s all right if you can’t have children. My children and grandchildren will make up for the ones you couldn’t have.

“At Christmas, the house would be full of 12 or 15 children,” Annie says. “I cooked for everyone. We all just had a good time.” At church, Woodrow’s kids made Annie stand for the traditional Mother’s Day honoring.

Annie and Woodrow were married for 27 years; he died in 2012 at 89. She still lives in the converted tobacco curing house he restored for her in Ararat, North Carolina, not far from where she grew up, and one of Woodrow’s sons and his wife live next door. The walls and tabletops of Annie’s home are filled with framed photographs of her late husband and his children and grandchildren, along with typed poems he wrote for Annie and her mother. He told her every day that he loved her.

Post-traumatic growth does not erase the experience of trauma, but allows people to integrate painful experiences into their life stories. Even after all the love she experienced with her husband and his family, Buelin still thinks about the children she didn’t have. “I know I would be a good mother,” she says. “I would work hard to raise them in church, to teach them right from wrong. I imagine myself sending them to school and [them] getting a good education. I would love them with everything in my power.”

Though Buelin follows the news and feels strongly that she should be compensated, her faith has helped her cope with the possibility that she might be disappointed. “To be a Christian, you can’t hate anybody,” she explains. “I forgive everybody that’s ever done me wrong. The Lord will take care of me. He loves me just as much as he loves you.”

Elaine Riddick’s growth has come through advocacy for her fellow sterilization victims and also, as with Buelin, through her faith. But it took her a while to get there.

“When I first started going to Raleigh, I was a mess,” she says, referring to the public hearings that began in 2010. “The more I went, the better I felt.”

Riddick speaks eloquently about her experience as a victim of North Carolina’s eugenics program, but can also cite statistics for programs in other states: California, Washington, Oregon. She’s developed a particular interest in international reproductive rights abuses, including recent reports that the Israeli government had been giving Depo-Provera shots, without consent, to immigrant Ethiopian Jews. She has traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, to visit the institution where Carrie Buck lived and help a new organization begin the process of identifying victims in that state. Riddick, who is passionately pro-life, has also told her story at anti-abortion events around the country.

Her personal life, too, has improved. She is in a loving relationship, spends lots of time caring for nieces and nephews, and no longer feels jealous of pregnant women.

“I’m the type of person, if something bothers me, I have to fix it,” she says. She can now put her face next to a pregnant woman’s stomach to talk to the baby. “That was hard, but I did it.”

Riddick follows the Legislature’s debates over compensation from her home in Atlanta, but is also pursuing another civil case, this time a class action. She’s convinced several of her fellow victims to join her — Willis Lynch is a co-plaintiff — and talks to them regularly. With the goal of becoming a more effective and better informed public speaker, she reads everything she can, from international news reports to the mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila.

Her primary goal in life, she says, is making sure that involuntary sterilization doesn’t happen to anybody else.

“I’m comfortable. I feel free,” she says firmly. “I’m so proud that God gave me a voice. I demand to be heard.”

Lynch’s post-traumatic growth is more difficult for outsiders to gauge. After his first marriage ended, he stayed away from women, fearing that he would again be used. After coming forward with his story he has granted interviews, but he doesn’t seek them out, and he is circumspect about the impact telling it has made. He’d rather talk about where Hank Williams ranks in the hierarchy of country musicians (No.1), and about which songs he’ll try out at the VFW on Friday night.

“Willis came to all this pretty tough and extroverted,” says Railey. “Even though there’s a certain point he won’t let you get past, more and more, he’s wanted to tell the story. He’s seen that he’s part of a bigger story … part of a movement towards justice.”

* * *

Sixteen

After legislators failed to include compensation in the 2012 budget, advocates and victims  vowed to fight on. Railey and his colleagues at the Journal continued to publish editorials urging action, victims continued to give interviews, and several House members, especially Womble and Tillis, continued to work behind the scenes to secure votes. In that year’s gubernatorial race, both major-party candidates expressed support for compensation, and following his election, Republican Pat McCrory included $10 million for it in his proposed spending plan for 2013-14.

But with both houses of the legislature and the executive branch under G.O.P. control for the first time since Reconstruction, progressive causes came under attack. The legislature repealed the Racial Justice Act, which allowed inmates who believed they were victims of discrimination to challenge death sentences, and passed a bill severely restricting access to the polls. They voted to reduce unemployment benefits, to cut funding for preschool programs and teachers’ aides, and to close agencies serving young children with developmental disabilities. They cut Medicaid and teacher pay, removed class size limits, and passed a bill that would close most of the state’s abortion clinics.

The state’s chapter of the NAACP organized a series of  protests at the Capitol to draw attention to the cuts, which resulted in more than 900 arrests. No one talked much about the eugenics issue, and victims and their supporters waited anxiously to see if they would be left out again. Given the contentious tone of the budget process, and the hostility so many lawmakers seemed to feel for the poor and disenfranchised, and to poor children in particular, it was hard to imagine a positive outcome. Buelin says she prayed every night for Phil Berger, leader of the Senate, who blocked compensation in his chamber’s first version of the budget.

Then, after a late night vote on Thursday, July 18, Railey heard from one of his sources that compensation would be included in the final bill reconciling the House and Senate budgets. He didn’t want to call any of the victims until he was “damn sure,” he says, and he waited nervously all weekend for word from Raleigh. On Saturday, he talked to Womble, who was optimistic. Sunday night, while watching a movie at home and working on the next week’s editorial page lineup, he checked his email and saw a joint press release from Tillis’s and Berger’s offices. He opened the document and scanned until paragraph four, where he read:

The plan [...] provides one-time compensation to living victims of a state-sponsored Eugenics program that ended in the 1970s [...]

Immediately, he began calling the victims and their advocates. He congratulated them on their hard work and perseverance. After more than a decade of seeking redress from the state, their voices conveyed “a real sense of vindication,” he says. One he couldn’t reach was Willis Lynch. When Railey finally got through the next morning, Lynch had already read the news. “I keep my eye on the paper, too,” he teased.

Statisticians estimate that more than half of North Carolina’s 7,600 sterilization victims have died, erased from history, just as the eugenicists imagined. Eighteen known victims have died since the verification process began in 2010. That leaves fewer than 200 who have been confirmed, only a fraction of those who might be eligible. Though the $10 million proposed would  cover the administration of $50,000 for each of the currently verified victims, it’s unclear how many more will come forward. The individual funds, scheduled for administration in 2015, could be more — or significantly less. It’s also unclear how aggressively the foundation will search for additional victims or where money will come from for the mental health services and memorials the task force recommended.

Still, in a political season that has attracted shaming attention to the state on a national scale, it helps to remember that any compensation is historic. North Carolina will likely serve as an example and motivation to other states considering how to address eugenics-based sterilization. Two legislators in Virginia’s House of Delegates, a Democrat and a Republican, recently co-sponsored a bill that also recommends individual payments of $50,000 each for victims of that state’s eugenics program, and advocates have been attempting to interest politicians in California and West Virginia in compensation, too.

But it is the deeply personal, painful stories of North Carolina’s victims — black and white, rural and urban, male and female — have now been heard by people around the world. They overcame their shame and their grief to talk about something that no one wanted to talk about for decades. In the absence of a traveling exhibit or permanent archive, their actions stand as both a memorial to their resilience and a challenge to the rest of us: How will we make it right?

Most victims weren’t waiting, after all, for the money. Riddick has said that she wants to use her award to help pregnant teenagers and disabled children. Buelin wants a more reliable car for getting around, but also plans to give back to the stepson and daughter-in-law who have taken care of her.

And Lynch has started planning a trip with his nephew — a token of gratitude, he says, for how good he was to Lynch’s mother. They’ll go to Nashville, to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and then on to Montgomery for Hank Williams Day, held each year on January 1, the day he died. Lynch, who turned 80 in June, says he intends to live a long time yet.

* * *

Originally published by The New New South, August 2013. 

* * *

BELLE BOGGS is the author of Mattaponi Queen, a collection of linked stories that take place along Virginia’s Mattaponi River. Mattaponi Queen won the Bakeless Prize, the Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award from the Library of Virginia, was a finalist for the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, was a 2010 Kirkus Reviews top fiction debut, and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for fiction. Boggs has received fellowships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences and is a recipient of a 2011 Artist Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council and a 2012 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Boggs was named “Best New Southern Author” by Southern Living magazine, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, Harper’s, Glimmer Train, the Oxford American, Orion, the Sun, and other publications. 

OLYMPIA STONE is an award-winning independent producer, director and editor of documentary films.  Her intimate portrait of the artist James Grashow, The Cardboard Bernini, details his exhilarating quest to create an intricately detailed cardboard version of the Trevi fountain, which he intends to abandon to the elements. Broadcast nationwide on PBS in 2013-14, the film also won Best Documentary at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival 2013, and was an official selection at Sebastopol, Santa Fe and 18 other festivals. Her first independent film, The Collector: Allan Stone’s Life in Art (2007) chronicles the obsessive collecting of her father, a New York art world gallerist whose habits and prescient scouting shaped his life and the lives of many in his artfully cluttered orbit.

Editor: Andrew Park

Special thanks to: Richard Allen, Rosecrans Baldwin, Gray Beltran, Crystal Fawn, Andrew Foster, Haven Kimmel, Dan Kois, Philip Motley, Duncan Murrell, Dan Oshinsky, John Railey, Evan Ratliff, Cristina Smith, Ron Stodghill, Olympia Stone, Barry Yeoman, Atavist, and the Duke University School of Law Startup Ventures Clinic

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
19 Nov 21:00

sachinteng: 'Athletic Genius' for NAUTILUS Magazine Exploring...











sachinteng:

'Athletic Genius' for NAUTILUS Magazine

Exploring cerebral prowess and which areas of the brain make great athletes!

Thanks to AD Len Small for giving me the chance to work on this. Check out the article at Nautilus here

20 Nov 05:00

November 20, 2014


Whee!
20 Nov 16:23

Britain's first 'poo bus' hits the streets

by Matt Brian
Thanks to a range of new technologies, Britain's buses are steadily swapping traditional fuel for greener alternatives. Over in Bristol, however, Wessex Water believes more can be done with the brown stuff. That's why it's today put the UK's first...
20 Nov 12:04

RT @raphael__prado: Foda ser velho, fiz piada na firm com a musica da poupança bamerindus...

by Osias Jota
Adam Victor Brandizzi

#dramasreais
(passei pelo mesmo ao mencionar os anões do orçamento...)

Author: Osias Jota
Source: Twitter Web Client
RT @raphael__prado: Foda ser velho, fiz piada na firm com a musica da poupança bamerindus e o cara que nasceu em 92 não entendeu
12 Nov 14:15

Avogadro Loves the Ladies

28 Apr 18:13

What You Love

by Reza

what_you_love

14 Jul 19:29

The Process

by Reza

process

17 Nov 23:01

(via genderoftheday)

17 Nov 21:27

(via peterfromtexas)

18 Nov 00:00

Photo



17 Nov 23:24

watdawut: Do you want to build a pentagonal dodecahedron? It...



watdawut:

Do you want to build a pentagonal dodecahedron?

It doesn’t have to be a pentagonal dodecahedron.

18 Nov 07:14

lord-kitschener: halcyon-ia: break the rules no gods no kings...



lord-kitschener:

halcyon-ia:

break the rules

no gods no kings no masters

17 Nov 16:58

what I’ve been doing for the past three months

by villeashell


what I’ve been doing for the past three months

15 Nov 19:10

Amazing Little Flip Books Use Negative Space and Secret Compartments

by Christopher Jobson

Amazing Little Flip Books Use Negative Space and Secret Compartments flipbook books

Amazing Little Flip Books Use Negative Space and Secret Compartments flipbook books

Amazing Little Flip Books Use Negative Space and Secret Compartments flipbook books

These fun little flip books made in Japan feature a number of unexpected designs that make use of negative space and secret “compartments” that are gradually revealed as you flip through the books. There are several books in the series published by Mou Hitotsu no Kenkyujo and you can pick them up on Amazon. Here’s the bug one. (via Travelry)

19 Nov 13:19

Las fotos panorámicas también pueden ser divertidas

by Troy

La funcionalidad de hacer fotos panorámicas, presente en los smartphones modernos, es interesante. Especialmente cuando nos ponemos en "modo experto" y queremos capturar paisajes en todo su esplendor.

Pero lo mejor viene cuando añadimos al escenario elementos en movimiento, especialmente personas o animales. Con un poco de suerte podemos generar imágenes especialmente grotescas y divertidas, como vemos en estos ejemplos.


Sobre esta imagen, aclarar que no voy a hacer ningún comentario relativo a esa gran obra del cine contemporáneo llamada "The human centipede" y además no voy a poner ningún enlace. El que quiera, que lo busque en Google por su cuenta y riesgo.


Visto en LikeCool

Ver más: fotografia, fotos, fotos panorámicas, panorámicas
Seguir @NoPuedoCreer - @QueLoVendan

 

19 Nov 06:00

[lunarbaboon]

19 Nov 00:00

11.19.2014

18 Nov 15:20

[via]





[via]

18 Nov 08:01

A Good Day to Die

by Doug
19 Nov 16:03

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers

by Christopher Jobson

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

Concentrically Layered Ceramic Sculptures and Vessels by Matthew Chambers  sculpture ceramics abstract

When stopping to consider these masterful ceramic objects by artist by Matthew Chambers, a flood of familiar images came to mind as I tried to understand what I was looking at. The aperture of a camera, the protective shell of a curled up armadillo, ocean waves, bowls of pasta, or portals to other dimensions; all valid reactions to these hand-built ceramic vessels and sculptures that contain dozens of thin concentric layers.

For the last 8 years Chambers has been working from a 215 square foot studio in Newport on the Isle of Wight where he creates each piece without the aid of sketches or designs, preferring to experiment as he works. Each “layer” is an individual section thrown on a potter’s wheel which he then assembles with other layers to make a solid sculpture. How something so precisely geometric can be formed from clay by hand is nothing short of astounding.

Chambers most recently had work at New Craftsman Gallery. You can also read a studio visit from Ceramic Arts Daily, and a more in-depth interview about his process on Ideas in the Making. (via Rhubarbes, Contemporist)