Thursday, January 28, 2010

A People's History of the United States

A People's History of the United States is a 1980 non-fiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. In the book, Zinn seeks to present American history through the eyes of those rarely heard in mainstream histories. A People's History has become a major success and was a runner-up in 1980 for the National Book Award. It has been adopted for reading in some high schools and colleges across the United States and has been frequently revised, with the most recent edition covering events through 2003. In 2003, Zinn was awarded the Prix des Amis du Monde Diplomatique for the French version of this book, Une histoire populaire des Etats-Unis. Over one million copies have been sold.

Howard Zinn 1922-2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FRONTLINE: digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Digital Nation
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Over a single generation, the Web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect of modern culture, transforming the way we work, learn and connect in ways that we’re only beginning to understand. FRONTLINE producer Rachel Dretzin (Growing Up Online) teams up with one of the leading thinkers of the digital age, Douglas Rushkoff (The Persuaders, Merchants of Cool), to continue to explore life on the virtual frontier. The film is the product of a unique collaboration with visitors to the Digital Nation Web site, who for the past year have been able to react to the work in progress and post their own stories online. Dretzin and her team report from the front lines of digital culture -- from love affairs blossoming in virtual worlds, to the thoroughly wired classrooms of the future, to military bases where the Air Force is fighting a new form of digital warfare. Along the way, they begin to map the critical ways that technology is transforming us -- and what we may be learning about ourselves in the process.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Technologies in a Sustainable Energy Economy

MIT World
The Role of New Technologies in a Sustainable Energy Economy
Angela Belcher
Daniel Nocera
October 25, 2006

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Japanese Onsens

A Japanese onsen is a natural hot spring for bathing. Also an onsen is used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around such hot springs.

Japan is a volcanically active country, and has thousands of onsens scattered across the archipelago. Onsen by definition use naturally hot water from geothermally heated springs. Note: An onsen should be considered different from Japanese sentos, which are just indoor public bath houses where the baths are filled with heated tap water.

Major onsen resort hotels often feature a wide variety of themed spa baths and artificial waterfalls in the bathing area. Onsens come in many types and shapes, including outdoor and indoor baths. Baths may be either public run by a local city, or private run as part of a hotel, ryokan or Bed and Breakfast.

Historically, traditional onsen were located outdoors. A large number of inns have now built indoor bathing facilities as well. Onsen water is believed to have healing powers derived from its mineral content. A particular onsen may feature several different baths, each with water with a different mineral composition, at different temperatures.

The outdoor bath tubs are most often made from Japanese cypress, marble or granite, while indoor tubs may be made with tile, acrylic glass or stainless steel. Many onsens boast about their unique water and mineral compositions, plus what healing properties these may contain. Other spa services like massages are often offered.

Traditionally, men and women bathed together at the onsen and sentō but single-sex bathing has become the norm since Japan opened to the West during the Meiji period in the late 1800's. Mixed-sex (named konyoku) bathing still exists at many onsens in the rural areas of Japan, which usually provide the option of separate "women-only" baths or different hours for the two sexes. Children of either sex may be seen in both the men's and the women's baths.