Thursday, September 23, 2010

An App for Everything: "The Rise of 'Apps Culture'" from the Pew Research Center

The popularity of smart phones has ushered in an "apps culture," according to a recent report from the Pew Internet Project. And some surprising things are revealed about app-consciousness. Take a moment and think about the importance your phone has in your life—beyond making calls, that is (which probably actually only account for a fraction of your usage anyway). If you own a variety of smart phone, really take a moment and consider the ways the device works to connect you—to businesses, people, media, and tools. If you own a "normal" phone, you may only have a fraction of these services available, but developers have tried to increase access to "perks" such as video and the Internet on standard devices. While these features are distinct from apps, which Pew defines as software applications that "extend the phone's capabilities" instead of being hardwired into the phone, they speak to a growing demand for connectivity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On My Shelf: The Search for the Codex Cardona (Review)

Part journal and part novel, The Search for the Codex Cardona is a tale of dogged persistence, forgeries, and the depths of the antiquities trade. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The US Stamp Design Selection Process

Farming in the West stamp, 1898.
Credit: NYPL Digital Archives.

Following yesterday's post, and a comment about the use of the pronoun "we" in describing the significance of stamps in relation to our history, i did some digging on just exactly how images are selected for "stamphood." 

The short of it is this: The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) collects requests and suggestions from the public and makes recommendations to the Postmaster General, who appears to have a heavy hand in the designs that appear on stamps. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Mother Theresa Stamp and the Cultural Legacy of Postage

Unveiling of the Mother Theresa postage stamp Sept. 5th, 2010 at the National Shrine. Postmaster General Jack Potter was in attendance (immediately to the left of the stamp).

Over the recent Labor Day weekend, S and I visited Washington D.C. where purely by chance we stumbled on a stamp unveiling. We were touring the National Shrine—the mosaics are breathtaking—when we realized the ceremony occurring at the front had little to do with normal services.  The United States Post Office had a covered display at the front, so we wound our way up the side aisle and came across a placard announcing that a stamp for Mother Theresa was being issued. (This actually explained the large number of nuns present wearing her traditional white and blue sari.) So we found a spot along the wall and settled into to watch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can Peruvian Coffee Gain a Foothold at Home?

The lives of Peruvian coffee growers and their families are not easy. Coffee growers outside of cooperatives often don't get paid very much for their product. Often they sell beans at market to a middleman, who may sell the beans again to another contact, who may then get the beans to a known roaster and wholesaler. The beans often change hands several times—and for the local grower this means low prices for his product. And that leads to other problems.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peruvian Coffee: Matching Consumption With Production

Peruvian coffee has been developed specifically for foreign markets, which allows foreign brands to hold a position of importance in the absence of a domestic presence. Brands, such as Nescafe, may have infiltrated the market and spread under the reputation of industrialism and modernity.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Trading Talent for Money

In case you haven’t heard, the economy isn’t doing so well. There are lots of everyday signs this is the case: the shuttered store fronts in neighborhoods, the reduced number of people on the commuter trains, and the increase in people asking for money.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baseball Fans Behaving Badly

So it's done. I've accepted it. There will be no playoff entry for the Mets this year—something that was evident earlier in the year, but the motto of this team is "Ya gotta believe." So you know, I had to believe. Am I disappointed? Yes. What fan wouldn't be? Am I surprised? No. What Mets fan would be? Does it mean that I won't be there come spring anxiously awaiting the crack of the bat? Absolutely not. Because being a fan means being a member of the team—yes, an actual member (sans the paycheck). Fans may not get time at bat, but being a fan creates a connection that goes beyond selecting a team that will represent you publicly—participation in fandom links you to wins and losses as strongly as the actual players themselves and fan response is as important to the reputation of the team as the players' own behavior. But does the nature of successful teams lend itself to unruly fan behavior?