Yesterday: breakfast at CC, followed by HD Recording session #2. We started the session with a ballad, tentatively entitled The Long Goodbye or The Long Farewell. While we were playing the song I had this image of a person not being able to tear themselves away from another, and then I remembered how the Japanese often wave goodbye until the leaving party is completely out of sight… and should they drive or walk around a hill and become visible again on the other side of that hill, their hosts will still be waving at them. Jon reminded me that the staff from the Blue Note in Tokyo waved until the small bus we were traveling in had completely disappeared around a corner.
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Disappearing acts: Master calligrapher Paul Antonio | Money | guardian.co.uk
Master calligrapher Paul Antonio demonstrating ancient skills with pens, ink and paper in his studio in Clapham, London

Wonderful audio slideshow about a London calligrapher, one of maybe fifty professionals in the UK.
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15 House Plants You Can Use As Air Purifiers
Here are 15 plants that could clean your air for just the price of a few drops of water each day.

here is a little homage to my rubber plant:

It looks like the rubber plant is tickling Miles Davis’ nose in the photo above…


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BBC News – Singing ‘rewires’ damaged brain
Teaching stroke patients to sing “rewires” their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists.

By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech.

If a person’s “speech centre” is damaged by a stroke, they can learn to use their “singing centre” instead.

And what happens when you don’t even teach singing or music in schools?
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A Key Concept for Neurodiversity: Niche Construction
When I suggest that neurodiverse individuals, such as those with autism or ADHD, might have been labeled gifted in other times and in other cultures, the quick retort is:  “Well, we don’t live in other times or cultures.  People have to adapt to the culture they’re in right now.”  So what does the person who is a round peg have to do to fit into a square hole?  Answer: Shave off enough of its wood to fit, uncomfortably, usually, into the square hole.  That’s one solution.  The other solution is to round off some of the square hole so that the round peg can stay a round peg and still fit in.  That’s niche construction.  In other words, I’m saying that people with neurodiverse brains can create special niches for themselves where they can be their unique selves.  An example would be a person with ADHD in a job that requires novelty, thrills, and creativity.  Instead of suffering in a 9 to 5 desk job (an example of poor niche construction), they create a career for themselves that allows them to be who they are.  Another example:  a person on the autistic spectrum who has keen mathematical skill working as a computer programmer in Silicon Valley, instead of wasting away in a group home somewhere. Niche construction is what animals have done for eons:  the bird building a nest, the beaver building a dam.  They’re modifying the environment to suit their unique needs.  We need to make niche construction a key tool in improving the lives of individuals with autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and other neurological conditions.  Yes, there will always be the need to adapt to the way the world is, and there are medications, behavior modification programs, and other adaptational programs that can help accomplish this.  But let’s not lose sight of the fact that we can also help neurodiverse individuals be who they are and still fit in. 
(Via Neurodiversity – The Book)

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Temple Grandin spoke brilliantly on that theme at TED. Check this out:

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Listen with headphones! You might also watch this film at Vimeo, so you can watch full screen.

(Via Music Of Sound)
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Consider the Germans
Come on: Is the West really in such decline? Yes, we can sit here on our island continent and gloom about the rise of China, as our elite now like to do. Or we can go out into the world and start competing like the Europeans. For here’s a strange fact; since 2003 it’s not China, but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first.

Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all it’s jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They’re beating us with one hand tied behind their back.
— Thomas Geoghegan in Harper’s magazine
(Via Nikola Tamindzic)