French woman thinks Richard Gere is homeless & gives him leftover pizza

Richard Gere gets leftover pizza from French tourist
The Guardian reports on this truly funny story:

When a bunch of people emerged from subway tunnels and told this lady’s husband to stop filming his wife and surroundings with his little camera, the couple understood that something strange was going on. Two days later the French tourist learned what, when she spotted her photo in a newspaper! The homeless man to whom she had given her left-over pizza was actually actor Richard Gere, who was preparing for an upcoming movie role by walking around the streets of Manhattan in character as a homeless man, rummaging through garbage cans for scraps of food.

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Being caring is not noble, it’s essential.

Please, let’s never forget how important it is to care for people more vulnerable than ourselves. Recently I told about Narayanan Krishnan who walked away from a good job to devote his life to caring for India’s homeless (I love this story). And here’s another one, right here in the US!

Dr. Withers

Dr. Jim Withers started off dressing like a homeless man to gain the trust of homeless people living on the streets of Pittsburgh in order to give them free medical treatment. His guide was a formerly homeless man who told him, “Don’t dress like a doctor and don’t act like a jerk.” The pair once told clients the medicines in their backpacks were samples from pharmaceutical companies, but since he became a hero to the street community, Dr. Withers doesn’t need to pretend any more.

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Beware! ransomware locks up your computer or phone until you pay

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 6.26.30 PMWAKV Radio Station in Plainwell, MI had its show archives and music wiped out by ransomware thieves. Fortunately, they had their music library backed up on another computer.

CNet writer Seth Rosenblatt explains in his report “Your computer and smartphone, held hostage: Cybercriminals are making their attacks personal, remotely locking your computers and smartphones until you pay a hefty ransom.”

The mother of a New York Times writer got ransomeware hacked and paid $200 to get access to her data back. As Alina Simone’s family learned, the criminals don’t want your data, they just want your money. And they’re getting plenty of it:

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Please Support Newark Grassroots Humanity Group Services!

Thanks for your interest in supporting the Newark Grassroots Humanity Group, an entirely community funded and staffed collaboration of individuals and non-profit organizations which provides humanitarian aid to Newark’s “neighbors with no address” (aka homeless people). The group’s principal mission is to provide a warm location, food and social service connections to

picture of grassroots warming station

How to Donate

Tax deductible financial donations for the Warming Station are being accepted by Partners in Acts (PACTS). You can make a donation:

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Boston Museum shows never run Life photos of black life in 1950s US

Time's photo from what it is like to be black collectionIn honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is exhibiting a striking collection of Gordon Parks photographs that Life commissioned, but never ran. In its article What It Was Like to Be Black in 1950s America Slate writer Jordan G. Teicher tells us:

Gordon Parks hadn’t been to his hometown, Fort Scott, Kansas, in more than 20 years when he returned there in 1950 as a photojournalist on assignment for Life magazine. Growing up as the youngest of 15 children, Parks attended the Plaza School, an all-black grade school in the heavily segregated town. Now, as the first black man hired full-time by the magazine, Parks wanted to find and photograph all 11 of his classmates from grade school as a way of measuring the impact of school segregation. The photo essay he created, which was never published, is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the exhibition, “Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott,” beginning Jan. 17.

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Banana trade is bananas, but you can go Fair Trade

First came the proposed merger of Fyffe and Chiquita brands last March, which fell through in October and now Brazil’s Cutrale and Safra have partnered to buy Chiquita and headquarter the company in Brazil, closing the company’s North Carolina Office. Fortune says, fruit is big business.

bananasGuardian authors Rebecca Smithers and Dominic Rushe write:

According to Banana Link, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for a fair and sustainable banana trade, the big fruit companies are relocating to countries in search of cheaper labour and weaker social and environmental legislation. Many workers in countries such as West Africa, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador do not receive a living wage and face appalling working conditions including 10- to 12-hour working days and exposure to harmful chemicals.

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No free pass on criticizing Israel & saying it’s not about Jews

When people express a problem with Israel, they are not talking about the many Israeli Arab citizens of the country or the pretty large number of Chinese that now live there. They are talking about Jews. That is why criticism of Israel is criticism of Jews – because when people criticize Israel they are really criticizing Jews, then pretending that is not what they intended to do.

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Moderate Muslims speak out in #notinmyname video

I’m sometimes challenged for saying that neither violence nor hatred are natural characteristics of the Muslim religion and that Muslim leaders are responsible for the destruction associated with followers of Mohammed today. Recent events have motivated moderates in this community to voice positions against terrorism and take action for peace. I hope this movement grows and grows!

Huffington Post Brazil’s L Baltazar writes

O #JeSuisCharlie, que tomou as redes sociais como manifesto em prol da liberdade de expressão e contra o extremismo, originou um novo movimento que ganha espaço e recebe cada vez mais adesões: a campanha #NotInMyName.

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Celebs & kids around the globe sing Imagine. Just nice.

kids sing Imagine
Enjoy this “World Version” of John Lennon’s iconic song Imagine with dozens of celebrities and children from across the globe singing along. Features Sonu Nigam, Katy Perry, Priyanka Chopra, and many more. Enjoy!

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Where to get legally free-to-use photos

free-stuffYou’ve become aware that copying photos and graphic images you find on the internet might be considered stealing them. This may or may not be morally wrong but breaking the law is at least a bit problematic. If you need pictures and don’t want to pay for them, here are sources for getting them legally free:

creative commons logoImages licensed under Creative Commons terms are free to use although they do have some strings attached to them (creators want to be named, for one thing). Photopin is a repository where you can find plenty of “free” Creative Commons pictures.

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Some thoughts on copyright law – mine and others’

Tony Bynum's foot of Glacier National ParkI came across a pretty interesting discussion on copyright law today, which was sparked by photographer Tony Bynum’s post on the illegality of using photographs found on the internet and copied. Yes, that’s right: we are supposed to get permission to use photographs and custom graphics by obtaining the creator’s verbal or written authorization or by paying … because all images are somebody’s intellectual or creative property and they’re protected by a body of law known as copyright law. Images are owned by their creator or the company they were working for when an image was created.

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Jim Jeffries insanely funny on topic of guns

Why have I been padding around my home for 40 minutes enjoying one of the best laughs? It’s because my Facebook friend @Vincent Wrice shared this video of Jim Jeffries in Boston doing a comedy routine on guns. A couple of highlights:

• You need them for protection? Yeah, that’s why they call them “assault” rifles!
• The First Amendment means I can say the Second Amendment sucks dicks.
• If you keeper them locked up, they can’t protect you, can they? (Here’s Jim, opening his gun safe after robbers broke in and he’s told them to wait a minute.)

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25 year study shows poverty as greatest determinant in children’s success

One student from the studyTwo John Hopkins professors tracked the scholastic and employment developments of 790 students via annual interviews conducted over 25 years from the time the students were 1st graders in Baltimore’s public school system until age 28. Their findings are disturbing, although certainly not surprising. The Washington Post article tell us,

A mere 4 percent of the first-graders Alexander and Entwisle had classified as the “urban disadvantaged” had by the end of the study completed the college degree that’s become more valuable than ever in the modern economy. A related reality: Just 33 of 314 had left the low-income socioeconomic status of their parents for the middle class by age 28.

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Possession of Wisdom – from Saint Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukural

Chapter 43: Possession of Wisdom
A chapter from South Indian saint Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukural, ‘Holy Couplets.’

Kural 421
Wisdom is a weapon that can ward off destruction.
It is an inner fortress that no enemy can assail.
Kural 422
Wisdom will harness the mind, diverting it
from wrong and directing it toward right.
Kural 423
Whatever is heard from whomever’s lips,
wisdom will rightly discern its true meaning.
Kural 424
Wisdom speaks well, conveying each meaning clearly,
and listens for the subtlest sense in others’ speech.
Kural 425
The wise befriend the wise and keep that friendship constant,
not opening and closing it like the petaled lotus.
Kural 426
It is wisdom to live in the world
in the way that the world lives.
Kural 427
Those who know, know what will happen next.
Such things are unknown to the unknowing.
Kural 428
It is folly not to fear what ought to be feared.
So the wise dread what should be dreaded.
Kural 429
Fearsome sufferings shall never happen
to knowing ones who guard against future happenings.
Kural 430
Those who possess wisdom possess everything.
Whatever others possess, without wisdom they have nothing.

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