A Raised Fist
“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” That was Nelson Mandela addressing a court in Pretoria in 1964. At that moment in history (when his imprisonment was certain and his death seemed likely) no one could have predicted how his life and country would change over the coming decades. He was sentenced to life in prison. But the arc of history bent towards him, and he managed to bend the arc of history; first with a raised fist, and later with an open hand.
+ “To have lived one’s life at the same time, and in the same natal country, as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a guidance and a privilege we South Africans shared. I also knew the privilege of becoming one of his friends.” Nadine Gordimer: Mandela, My Countryman.
+ From Mandela’s biographer Richard Stengel: “In many ways, the image of Nelson Mandela has become a kind of fairy tale: he is the last noble man, a figure of heroic achievement. Indeed, his life has followed the narrative of the archetypal hero, of great suffering followed by redemption. But as he said to me and to many others over the years, ‘I am not a saint.’ And he wasn’t.”
A Market Grows Up
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies. What does that tell us? Well, for one thing, we know that a whole lot of adults bought copies of their own. And that’s part of a broader trend. We often like what our kids like.
From Wired: Someone’s been siphoning data through a huge security hole in the Internet.
+ “Twenty years after the world first heard about Christopher McCandless, fans of Into the Wild continue to risk their lives to reach the bus where he died.” Eva Holland hit the trail to learn more.
The Minimum is the Message
Between Obama’s recent speech on economic inequality and fast-food worker protests around the country, we’re hearing a lot more about the minimum wage. Here’s a key stat to keep in mind. “A federal minimum wage in 1968 could have lifted a family of three above the poverty line, now it can’t even do that for a parent with one child, working full-time, 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year (yes, this calculation assumes that the parent takes no time off).”
+ The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in November.
They’re Playing Our Tune
NBC‘s live televised broadcast of The Sound of Music was greeted with decidedly mixed reviews. At one point, I expected Ron Burgundy to make an appearance. But here’s what was not mixed: The ratings. It was a massive hit for NBC. Aside from sports (specifically, the NFL), the networks have been finding it more difficult to get us to gather around the tube for some appointment television. Long story short: Expect more live musicals. (And please don’t blame the messenger.)
The Protest Cup
With the release of the World Cup draw, the buzz around the event is really starting to build. But the world may see more than soccer when all eyes turn towards Brazil. “Fury, anarchy, martyrdom: Why the youth of Brazil are (forever) protesting, and how their anger may consume the World Cup.” From ESPN the Magazine’s Wright Thompson: Generation June.
Working Out (and In)
Perhaps inspired by the new series Masters of Sex, a group of researchers set out to learn exactly how much exercise we get from the average sexual experience. Bottom line: We need more reps.
The Cost of Health
What’s the difference between an unhealthy diet and a healthy one? According to the Harvard School of Public Health: About a buck fifty a day.
Going (More) Public
When a company goes public, most of us are left to sit with a bowl of popcorn and watch the insiders make money. AMC Entertainment is looking to change that a bit. They are planning to allow members of their loyalty program to purchase a small amount of stock before the IPO. If the price goes up, we may see a lot of sequels.
The Bottom of the News
Since the Gulf oil spill, BP has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that were negatively impacted by the environmental disaster. Those payouts included a check for $173,000 paid to an escort agency.
+ MIT actually reinvented the wheel. And that could mean that you’ll need to do less pedaling.
+ NPR: Lorde Sounds Like Teen Spirit.