Monday, October 20, 2014

Boston Book Festival! 10/25 extra credit galore!

http://www.bostonbookfest.org/







Kids' Keynote 
Rick Riordan
Trinity Sanctuary 10:45 - 11:45am

Boston Stories: Tears, Triumphs, Mysteries, and Sports 
Doug Most, Belinda Rathbone, Jenna Russell, Bob Ryan, Neil Swidey
Emmanuel Sanctuary 11:15 - 12:30

South Asian Authors: Impact Across Genres 
Geeta Anand, Vikram Chandra, Vikas Swarup
Trinity Sanctuary 12:30 - 1:30

Twenty Questions with Steve Almond 
Boston Common Hancock 12:30 - 1:30

Digital by Design: 
Vikram Chandra, Judith Donath, Howard Gardner
Old South Sanctuary 2:15 - 3:15

YA: Reality, Meet Fantasy
A. S. King, Scott Westerfeld, Meg Wolitzer
Emmanuel Sanctuary 4:15 - 5:15

Film notes 10/17

Enjoy!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Old Man and the Sea survey! Extra Credit!

Here's a quick survey on our reading/RASHing on The Old Man and the Sea.
Click Here!

The two classes with the highest participation will earn Extra Credit on the exam, so respond with your honest and most thoughtful comments.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Boston time lapse video, multiple layers!

This is an amazing use of time lapse video editing. It has the usual "fast background, slow camera movement" technique. But it is the use of multiple time layers that gives this a hauntingly beautiful effect. Enjoy

Boston Layer-Lapse from Julian Tryba on Vimeo.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

New York Times editorial on Cuban embargo

Amazing timing on this article as we have RASHed on The Old Man and the Sea, noting that Hemingway's physical and mental decline intensified as he was forced to leave Cuba.

End the U.S. Embargo on Cuba
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD OCT. 11, 2014

Scanning a map of the world must give President Obama a sinking feeling as he contemplates the dismal state of troubled the bilateral relationships his administration has sought to turn around. He would be smart to take a hard look at Cuba, where a major policy shift could yield a significant foreign policy success.

For the first time in more than 50 years, shifting politics in the United States and changing policies in Cuba make it politically feasible to re- establish formal diplomatic relations and dismantle the senseless embargo. The Castro regime has long blamed the embargo for its shortcomings, and has kept ordinary Cubans largely cut off from the world. Mr. Obama should seize this opportunity to end a long era of enmity and help a population that has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro assumed power.
In recent years, a devastated economy has forced Cuba to make reforms — a process that has gained urgency with the economic crisis in Venezuela, which gives Cuba heavily subsidized oil. Officials in Havana, fearing that Venezuela could cut its aid, have taken significant steps to liberalize and diversify the island’s tightly controlled economy.

They have begun allowing citizens to take private-sector jobs and own property. This spring, Cuba’s National Assembly passed a law to encourage foreign investment in the country. With Brazilian capital, Cuba is building a seaport, a major project that will be economically viable only if American sanctions are lifted. And in April, Cuban diplomats began negotiating a cooperation agreement with the European Union. They have shown up at the initial meetings prepared, eager and mindful that the Europeans will insist on greater reforms and freedoms.


The authoritarian government still harasses and detains dissidents. It has yet to explain the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the political activist Oswaldo Payá. But in recent years officials have released political prisoners who had been held for years. Travel restrictions were relaxed last year, enabling prominent dissidents to travel abroad. There is slightly more tolerance for criticism of the leadership, though many fear speaking openly and demanding greater rights.
The pace of reforms has been slow and there has been backsliding. Still, these changes show Cuba is positioning itself for a post-embargo era. The government has said it would welcome renewed diplomatic relations with the United States and would not set preconditions.

As a first step, the Obama administration should remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorist organizations, which includes Iran, Sudan and Syria. Cuba was put on the list in 1982 for backing terrorist groups in Latin America, which it no longer does. American officials recognize that Havana is playing a constructive role in the conflict in Colombia by hosting peace talks between the government and guerrilla leaders.


Starting in 1961, Washington has imposed sanctions in an effort to oust the Castro regime. Over the decades, it became clear to many American policy makers that the embargo was an utter failure. But any proposal to end the embargo angered Cuban-American voters, a constituency that has had an outsize role in national elections.


The generation that adamantly supports the embargo is dying off. Younger Cuban-Americans hold starkly different views, having come to see the sanctions as more damaging than helpful. A recent poll found that a slight majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami now oppose the embargo. A significant majority of them favor restoring diplomatic ties, mirroring the views of other Americans.

The Obama administration in 2009 took important steps to ease the embargo, a patchwork of laws and policies, making it easier for Cubans in the United States to send remittances to relatives in Cuba and authorizing more Cuban-Americans to travel there. And it has paved the way for initiatives to expand Internet access and cellphone coverage on the island.

Fully ending the embargo will require Congress’s approval. But there is much more the White House could do on its own. For instance, it could lift caps on remittances, allow Americans to finance private Cuban businesses and expand opportunities for travel to the island.


It could also help American companies that are interested in developing the island’s telecommunications network but remain wary of the legal and political risks. Failing to engage with Cuba now will likely cede this market to competitors. The presidents of China and Russia traveled to Cuba in separate visits in July, and both leaders pledged to expand ties.


Cuba and the United States already have diplomatic missions, called interests sections, that operate much like embassies. However, under the current arrangement, American diplomats have few opportunities to travel outside the capital to engage with ordinary Cubans, and their access to the Cuban government is very limited.


Restoring diplomatic ties, which the White House can do without congressional approval, would allow the United States to expand and deepen cooperation in areas where the two nations already manage to work collaboratively — like managing migration flows, maritime patrolling and oil rig safety. It would better position Washington to press the Cubans on democratic reforms, and could stem a new wave of migration to the United States driven by hopelessness.


Closer ties could also bring a breakthrough on the case of an American development contractor, Alan Gross, who has been unjustly imprisoned by Cuba for nearly five years. More broadly, it would create opportunities to empower ordinary Cubans, gradually eroding the government’s ability to control their lives.


In April, Western Hemisphere heads of state will meet in Panama City for the seventh Summit of the Americas. Latin American governments insisted that Cuba, the Caribbean’s most populous island and one of the most educated societies in the hemisphere, be invited, breaking with its traditional exclusion at the insistence of Washington.

Given the many crises around the world, the White House may want to avoid a major shift in Cuba policy. Yet engaging with Cuba and starting to unlock the potential of its citizens could end up being among the administration’s most consequential foreign-policy legacies.


Normalizing relations with Havana would improve Washington’s relationships with governments in Latin America, and resolve an irritant that has stymied initiatives in the hemisphere. The Obama administration is leery of Cuba’s presence at the meeting and Mr. Obama has not committed to attending. He must — and he should see it as an opportunity to make history.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

"The Old Man and the Sea" reading calendar

Listen to each section:
Audiobook Link

October 1
Part 1 (9-22)
“I wanted to take him fishing but I was too timid to ask him. Then I asked you to ask him and you were too timid.” 

October 2
Part 2 (22-36)
The iridescent bubbles were beautiful. But they were the falsest thing in the sea and the old man loved to see the big sea turtles eating them. 

October 3
Part 3 (36-50)
When once, through my treachery, it had been necessary to him to make a choice, the old man thought. His choice had been to stay in the deep dark water far out beyond all snares and traps and treacheries. 

October 7
Part 4 (50-62) Part 5 (62-75) Part 6 (75-89)
If the boy were here he could rub it for me and loosen it down from the forearm, he thought. But it will loosen up.

Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him.

The sea had risen considerably. But it was a fair-weather breeze and he had to have it to get home. “I’ll just steer south and west,” he said. “A man is never lost at sea and it is a long island.” 


October 8
Part 7 (89-101)
Sometimes he lost the scent. But he would pick it up again, or have just a trace of it, and he swam fast and hard on the course. 

October 9
Part 8 (101-114)
“Come on, galano,” the old man said. “Come in again.” The shark came in a rush and the old man hit him as he shut his jaws. 

October 10
Part 9 (114-end)
The end.