History Podcasts: 100 Years Ago Charles Ponzi And His “Scheme” Were Arrested (Podcast)

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

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Travel & Nature Videos: “Yellowstone Gateway” (Conservation Alliance)

Protecting Wild Lands and Waters of Yellowstone Gateway

To protect the Yellowstone Gateway from the threat of industrial-scale gold mining by securing a permanent mineral withdrawal that prevents mining activity in 30,000 acres of National Forest lands in the Absaroka Beartooth mountains.

Yellowstone Gateway The Conservation Alliance Video by Uncage the Soul Productions 2020

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New Science Podcasts: Two People In An MRI Machine; Wisdom & Culture Lab (ScienceMag)

scimag_pc_logo_120_120 (2)Getting into an MRI machine can be a tight fit for just one person. Now, researchers interested in studying face-to-face interactions are attempting to squeeze a whole other person into the same tube, while taking functional MRI (fMRI) measurements. Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the kinds of questions simultaneous fMRIs might answer.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Igor Grossman, director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, about his group’s Science Advances paper on public perceptions of the difference between something being rational and something being reasonable.

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Art History: World War I Surrealist War Artist Paul Nash (1889 – 1946)

Paul Nash (11 May 1889 – 11 July 1946) was a British Surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art.

Paul Nash The Ypres Salient at Night, 1918.
Paul Nash: The Ypres Salient at Night, 1918.
Paul_Nash_woodcut_CONTEMPORARY_BRITISH_ARTISTS_1923 Wikipedia
PAUL NASH in a woodcut self-portrait (1923)

Born in London, Nash grew up in Buckinghamshire where he developed a love of the landscape. He entered the Slade School of Art but was poor at figure drawing and concentrated on landscape painting. Nash found much inspiration in landscapes with elements of ancient history, such as burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts such as Wittenham Clumps and the standing stones at Avebury in Wiltshire. The artworks he produced during World War I are among the most iconic images of the conflict. After the war Nash continued to focus on landscape painting, originally in a formalized, decorative style but, throughout the 1930s, in an increasingly abstract and surreal manner. In his paintings he often placed everyday objects into a landscape to give them a new identity and symbolism.

Paul Nash:  Ruined Country - Old Battlefield, Vimy, near La Folie Wood, 1918.
Paul Nash: Ruined Country – Old Battlefield, Vimy, near La Folie Wood, 1918.

Official World War I Artist – In November 1917 Nash returned to the Ypres Salient as a uniformed observer with a batman and chauffeur. At this point the Third Battle of Ypres was three months old and Nash himself frequently came under shellfire after arriving in Flanders. The winter landscape he found was very different from the one he had last seen in spring. The system of ditches, small canals and dykes which usually drained the Ypres landscape had been all but destroyed by the constant shellfire. Months of incessant rain had led to widespread flooding and mile upon mile of deep mud. Nash was outraged at this desecration of nature. He believed the landscape was no longer capable of supporting life nor could it recover when spring came. Nash quickly grew angry and disillusioned with the war and made this clear in letters written to his wife. One such written, after a pointless meeting at Brigade HQ, on 16 November 1917 stands out,

I have just returned, last night from a visit to Brigade Headquarters up the line and I shall not forget it as long as I live. I have seen the most frightful nightmere of a country more conceived by Dante or Poe than by nature, unspeakable, utterly indescribable. In the fifteen drawings I have made I may give you some idea of its horror, but only being in it and of it can ever make you sensible of its dreadful nature and of what our men in France have to face. We all have a vague notion of the terrors of a battle, and can conjure up with the aid of some of the more inspired war correspondents and the pictures in the Daily Mirror some vision of battlefield; but no pen or drawing can convey this country—the normal setting of the battles taking place day and night, month after month. Evil and the incarnate fiend alone can be master of this war, and no glimmer of God’s hand is seen anywhere. Sunset and sunrise are blasphemous, they are mockeries to man, only the black rain out of the bruised and swollen clouds all though the bitter black night is fit atmosphere in such a land. The rain drives on, the stinking mud becomes more evilly yellow, the shell holes fill up with green-white water, the roads and tracks are covered in inches of slime, the black dying trees ooze and sweat and the shells never cease. They alone plunge overhead, tearing away the rotting tree stumps, breaking the plank roads, striking down horses and mules, annihilating, maiming, maddening, they plunge into the grave, and cast up on it the poor dead. It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.”

Paul Nash  Void of War, 1918.
Paul Nash: Void of War, 1918.

Nash’s anger was a great creative stimulus which led him to produce up to a dozen drawings a day. He worked in a frenzy of activity and took great risks to get as close as possible to the frontline trenches. Despite the dangers and hardship, when the opportunity came to extend his visit by a week and work for the Canadians in the Vimy sector, Nash jumped at the chance. He eventually returned to England on 7 December 1917.

From Wikipedia

Senior Healthcare: The Challenges Of Safely “Aging In Place” (Video)

The 65-and-older population is the fastest-growing age group in the world. In this video, Stony Brook experts discuss the challenges facing this burgeoning population and their caregivers, and the technology that can facilitate happy, healthy and safe aging.

New Travel Books: “St. Moritz Chic” (Assouline)

St, Moritz Chic Assouline January 30 2020St. Moritz also takes readers on a majestic tour of its special events, from Winter Olympics to the annual Snow Polo World Cup, as well as the summertime Jazz Festival and the British Classic Car Meeting. In St. Moritz creatives and royals share skiwassers slope-side on the sheepskin benches of El Paradiso, pause to sip champagne on long strolls around its frozen, crystalline lake and enjoy coffee and confections at the centuries old Hanselmann. St. Moritz has never lost its inimitable appeal, and will continue to reign as an elegant hideaway for all those who have come to call it a home away from home.

Nestled in Switzerland’s alpine Engadin Valley, St. Moritz stands on its own amidst a sea of celebrated ski resorts in that it has long maintained an elusive allure. The winter home of personalities from Gunter Sachs and Gianni Agnelli to Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, John Lennon, and Claudia Schiffer, there are few places in the world that manage to unite so many of the top names in cinema, art, and fashion all in one place, year after year. Author Dora Lardelli takes the reader on a journey through Chanel and Hitchcock’s favorite haunts and the hidden parties at Badrutt’s Palace where royalty goes to play, without forgetting the natural beauty, village charm and architectural mastery that define it.

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Innovation In Aging: “Creating an Age-Friendly Public Health System”

From an Innovation In Aging online release:

Age-Friendly Social MovementBecoming an Age-Friendly Health System entails reliably acting on a set of four evidence-based elements of high-quality care and services, known as the “4Ms,” for all older adults. When implemented together, the 4Ms represent a broad shift to focus on the needs of older adults:

  • (1) What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences including, but not limited to, end-of-life care and across settings of care;
  • (2) Medication: If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medication that does not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care;
  • (3) Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across settings of care; and
  • (4) Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day to maintain function and do What Matters

The Age-Friendly Health Systems movement, initiated in 2017, recognizes that an all-in, national response is needed to embrace the health and well-being of the growing older adult population. Like public health, health systems, including payers, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations, nursing homes, and home health care, need to adopt a new way of thinking that replaces unwanted care and services with aligned interventions that respect older adults’ goals and preferences. Becoming an Age-Friendly Health System entails reliably acting on a set of four evidence-based elements of high-quality care and services, known as the “4Ms,” for all older adults.

The number of Americans Ages 65 and Older will more than Double by 2060 graphic from Census Bureau

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Interviews: 59-Year Old Artist & Writer Jessica Helfand (CalTech)

From a CalTech Matters online article:

Jessica Helfand Caltech Matters Credit - Maggie Peters
Jessica Helfand – Photo by Maggie Peters in Caltech Matters

“Observation is observation. Looking, listening, thinking, conjecturing … all original ideas begin with a kind of scrutiny that is at once framed by discipline and open to discovery. Because I have always taught students in a university, not in an art school, I think I have a baseline understanding of what it means to approach the visual world from a different place. Teaching non-artists is always a little bit like being a foreign exchange student. Therein lies the challenge—and, I suspect, the fun.”

January 7, 2020 – This month, artist, designer, and writer Jessica Helfand joins Caltech as the Winter 2020 artist-in-residence in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture, which is administered jointly by the division and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Helfand is a former contributing editor and columnist for PrintEye and Communications Arts magazines, and founding editor of the website Design Observer. She taught at Yale for two decades and has held artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome and the Bogliasco Foundation, among others. Her most recent book, Face: A Visual Odyssey, was published by MIT Press last fall. On January 16, Helfand will take part in a noontime talk with Bren Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology Ralph Adolphs on the theme of the “face.”

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Health Podcasts: Interview With “Seed” Microbiome Company Co-Founder Raja Dhir

Raja Dhir is the co-founder of microbiome company Seed. Based in LA, Seed is a collective of scientists and doctors, researching how bacteria can improve human health and that of our planet. Its first product, a daily synbiotic, focuses on the stomach.

Raja Dhir is a life sciences entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Seed, a venture-backed Seed Co-Founder Raja Dhir from Seed websitemicrobiome company pioneering the application of bacteria for both human and planetary health. He leads Seed’s R&D, academic collaborations, technology development, clinical trial design, supply chain, and intellectual property strategy.

Together with Dr. Jacques Ravel, he Co-Chairs Seed’s Scientific Advisory Board–an interdisciplinary group of scientists and doctors who lead research teams and teach at institutions including the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the Trial Innovation Unit of Mass. General Hospital (MGH). Raja has designed clinical trials with leading academic institutions including the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the Trial Innovation Unit of Mass. General Hospital (MGH).

Raja has unique expertise translating scientific research for product development with a track record that includes patented inventions to stabilize sensitive compounds to improve alpha-diversity of the gut microbiome (derived from micro-algae) and most recently, the co-invention of microbial technologies to protect honeybee populations (Apis mellifera) from neonicotinoid pesticides and pathogen colonization. His work also includes biofermentation and scale-up for both facultative and strict anaerobic organisms.

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The 1980’s: Science Center Construction Boomed – New Age “Museums”

From a CityLab.com online article:

The first of these urban amenities arose in the 1960s, but it was in the 1980s and ‘90s that the construction of science centers truly boomed. Inspired by historic World’s Fair exhibitions, industrial and natural history museums, and the sci-fi dreams of their early founders, science centers had a hands-on mission distinct from that of most museums—to engage rather than display. They offered levers you could pull, gyroscopes you could spin, lab experiments you could conduct. 

Citilab logoThe science center is an adolescent among museum types, one whose main growth spurt was in recent memory. Over the past 40 years, they went from a sparse to a ubiquitous presence, now found in almost every major city. Their emergence stretched the ontological essence of the museum: They present not objects, but concepts. Many science centers define themselves explicitly this way and possess slim to no permanent collections.

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