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How I’m learning to break my silence and fight racism

Source: How I’m learning to break my silence and fight racism

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This Is The Modern Way

Source: This Is The Modern Way

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The music of sign language, a computer of water drops: 21 TED Fellows share ideas that swim against the tide

In three sessions of talks: how medical tests can be done at the kitchen table and the ways that sign language can be studied like music.

Source: The music of sign language, a computer of water drops: 21 TED Fellows share ideas that swim against the tide

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Community Pool

The place for feedback, tips, and friendly blogging chatter.

Source: Community Pool

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Tip of the Week: 5 glorious government goodies

Source: Tip of the Week: 5 glorious government goodies

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A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend


Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker…

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Burning Books

Of Books and Bugs

18777516955_317332837a_k Creeping Charlie in our yard, sprayed by our neighbor – June 2015

For close to a decade I’ve been documenting the plants and the animals that can be found in our yard, a rectangular lot in the city of Northfield, Minnesota. This is not a grand project, but a small, cumulative task, providing a lot of enjoyment and many surprises. Dragonflies, butterflies, bumble bees, mining bees, orchard bees, leaf-cutter bees, great golden digger wasps, grass-carrying wasps, ichneumon wasps, braconid wasps, stoneflies, caddisflies, soldier flies, gall flies, hover flies, crane flies, tree crickets, tiger beetles, may beetles, fireflies, ground beetles, long-horned beetles, lady beetles, jumping spiders, crab spiders, orb-weaver spiders….the list goes on. Just the number and diversity of moths attracted to a light on our garage astonishes; over a single year, well over two hundred different species visited.

Last year a newly married couple moved in next door. One of the first…

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Working Big

Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook

I rarely post about the commissioned pieces I work on. But this triptych was so much fun, and I learnt so much from it, that I had to share it.

I usually work small: an 8×10 or 11×14 inch piece is as large as I work. So when I got asked to work on a set of 3 18×24 inch pieces, I did wonder about what it would take to work that large yet keep the loose lines and mixed-on-paper washes of my smaller works. But I was also excited at the possibility of working outside my comfort zone, trying something I wouldn’t normally try.
sky_test On the left are the colors I decided to use for my twilight sky. On the right, my first piece, edged with frisket, just before I painted in the sky.

It’s hard to see the detail on pieces this big, but I’ve tried to compare bits of the image I shot…

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The Root of Economic Injustice

What is economic injustice? We live under a financial system that constantly prints more money, which devalues the cash and savings of every Kenyan.  Year after year the prices of basic goods and services go up – this is called “inflation”.  It isn’t unique to Kenya.  We inherited this system from the Bank of England, and it has been replicated in every country on Earth.

Inflation Eats Your SavingsThe elite are able to protect themselves from inflation by investing their money into real estate, stocks, forex and small businesses.  But average Kenyans, the wananchi, have no defense against rising prices because they do not have access to the types of assets that the elite use to protect their wealth.

If your savings are losing their value over time, there is no incentive to save at all!  This causes the gap between rich and poor to grow each year in Kenya, and in most other countries as well.

We think that is economic injustice.

As a private company there is little we can do about the root cause of inflation, because that is a political problem.

What we can do is give the people in the base of the pyramid access to the same kind of quality investments that the elite use to protect themselves and make their wealth grow: real estate, equities, commodities, precious metals and forex.  We believe people should be able to park their savings into appreciating assets – or at least assets that hold their value.

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A Friend Remembers

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