She Deserve a Google Doodle

Audrey Hepburn Google Doodle from May 4, 2014

Audrey Hepburn Google Doodle from May 4, 2014

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Audrey Hepburn, a worthy choice to be sure.  She was one of the most respective actresses of her time, ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema, she is one of the few people to have won an Grammy, Tony, Emmy, Oscar, BAFTA, and numerous other accolades for her work as an actress.

She was also a fashion icon, but she may be most worthy of honor for her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.  She first did work for UNICEF in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1988 that she began work in an official capacity.  She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, only a year before she died of cancer at the age of only 45.

She’s a worthy subject of honor, to be sure, but I’m curious what criteria Google chooses.  Around this time two years ago the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace launched an effort to ask Google to dedicate a Doodle to Pearl S. Buck.
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Bikes of Santa Fe and Albuquerque

I just got back from vacation in New Mexico, but I confess I kind of slacked off when it came to photographing bicycles.  I missed some good opportunities, especially in Albuquerque where most buses has cool bikes on the racks on the from of the bus.  There are also a fair number of cyclists on the roads, but I usually don’t photograph these because it’s hard to get a good shot of a bike with a rider on it that’s in motion.  I didn’t have my bike and I wish I had, because it definitely seems like a bike friendly place.

See New Mexico Cycling, Santa Fe Bikeways and Trails,  and Cycling in Albuquerque.

Spotify Playlist: Architecture, Music, and Metaphor

timelinealmoravidTo celebrate the launch of the new Archnet, I’m presenting a Spotify playlist on the theme of architecture and the built environment. It explores various themes, ranging from an appreciation of great cities and monuments, to architecture as a spiritual metaphor.  Check it out and let me know what you think?

I’m missing are.  This is just what happened to come to mind at the moment, so I’m missing a lot, I’m sure.  What would you add?  Leave a comment and let me know.  

New Book: Spring and Summer at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace

Spring and Summer at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace is a collection of images and texts from the year I spent as an Americorps volunteer in Hillsboro, WV.  I’d like to think the text and images speak for themselves, but the book wouldn’t exist at all if weren’t for the initiative and efforts of Martin Magee, who edited the volume.  He saw something worth collecting in my work, and he had the will and persistence to push this project through to completion.  I hope you will check out the book!


“Now or Never” and Digital Piracy

The album from which the Rachid Taha single comes, ZOOM, is released in Europe, and if you go to the YouTube page you’ll get iTunes link from which you can buy it.  But as is often the case with music I like from other countries, I can’t actually do so. If I were buying the CD, which I may well do at some point, I could simply use my credit card and the internet, pay extra shipping charges, and take advantage of the borderless world of the internet to get the newest release by an artist I’ve been following for decades. There’s an Amazon link, too.  Ironically, the digital store is more locked down.

Yes, I know there are ways around these restrictions such as proxies and such, but that’s not my point. I don’t want to have to result to those techniques in order to legally purchase music, just because the record label has decided it isn’t ready to distribute across the pond yet. And most people don’t know how to do take advantage of those methods yet. Make no bones about it, it’s a corporate decision to lock down distribution this way.  The artists, with the possible exception of huge megastars, are usually just thrilled anyone at all is actually buying their music and paying full price for it. They love having fans wherever they are. 
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Damascus in the 19th Century-Images


Bayt Shama’ya Afandi, Damascus, Syria

I work on some fascinating projects at the AKDC@MIT.  One that we’ve just started on, and will be uploading in small increments over an extended period is a a new Special Collection in Archnet, the Michel Ecochard Archive.  A  collection of images of 19th-century Damascus is the first installment to be made available.  I’m so intrigued by the images, I wanted to tell you about them here, and about the larger collection you will eventually see more of.

French architect and urban planner Michel Ecochard, 1905-1985, spent much of his career working in the Muslim world, starting in Damascus following his graduation from École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1929, then Beirut from 1931 to 1944, Rabat from 1946 to 1952 and finally Paris from 1953 to 1983.  Continue reading

“Forward” Music Video

There’s always a part of me that feels just a little naive and sentimental when I post a video like this one.  But I suppose I am a little of both those things.  I strongly believe in the essential goodness of human nature, and that when a society offers people an opportunity to excel, most will rise to the occasion.  Congressman Barney Frank once said, that government is simply the name we give to those things we choose to do together.  That is the view taken in this video, and it is one thing I like about it.

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Happy National Voter Registration Day!

Sharon Jones says “Register to Vote”

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day and volunteers all over the country will be out in communities helping people be sure they are registered to vote in the upcoming elections.  In this photo Sharon Jones urges you to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Head Count volunteers with clipboards.

She’s an amazing artist.  Listen to her singing “This Land is Your Land” here. Then check out some of the many photos of Rock Stars and celebrities urging you to get out and vote at these links:


SAR Academic Freedom Media Review-April 7-13, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available at here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.


Jadavpur University professor arrested over anti-Mamata cartoons
The Times of India, 4/13

Finally on solid ground (in Norwegian – Google translation)
Aksel Kjaer Vidnes, Forskerforum, 4/13

Colombia all ears after students vote with their feet
Graham Jarvis, Times Higher Education, 4/12

Tenuous Tenure
Kaustuv Basu, Inside Higher Ed, 4/12

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