Sunday, February 28, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dark Knight may be Superman's next greatest nemesis, after Lex Luthor.
Just three days after auction site ComicConnect.com claimed to break world records when it sold an original Superman comic for $1 million, Batman stole his thunder.
A rare, high-quality copy of Detective Comics #27, which marked the first appearance of Batman in 1939, sold for $1,075,500 on Thursday. Heritage Auctions of Dallas sold the comic book to an unnamed bidder on behalf of an anonymous collector.
Seven bidders from three countries participated in the combination live and online auction, taking about eight minutes to decide on a final price -- an "eternity" in auction time, said Heritage Auctions president Greg Rohan.
On Monday, ComicConnect claimed to sell a rare copy of Action Comics #1 to an anonymous collector for $1 million.
Action Comics #1, which debuted in 1938, marked the first appearance of Superman. A lesser-quality copy set the previous comic book record, racking up $317,000 at auction last year.
Vincent Zurzolo, who co-owns ComicConnect.com with founder Stephen Fishler, said while his Superman sale only held the record for three days, he was very happy to see two comic books selling for more than $1 million.
"Records are meant to be broken," and this week will forever go down in comic book history, he said.
Both Detective Comics #27 and Action Comics #1 were originally published by National Allied Publications, a company that later became Detective Comics and then DC Comics. DC Comics and CNNMoney.com are Time Warner subsidiaries.
With several comic book films set to release in 2011, Zurzolo said he expects prices to escalate on rare copies featuring popular characters. Green Lantern, The First Avenger: Captain America and Spider-Man 4 are tentatively scheduled to open in theaters next year.
Rohan said he's seen prices for incredibly rare items, like original comic books, shoot up between 15% and 25% during the recession, while auction prices for more common collectibles have decreased.
Last month, Heritage Auctions sold a 1913 nickel, one of only 5 in the world, for $3.7 million.
Tequila is losing its reputation as a party drink best accompanied by salt and lime. Today, the liquor is enjoying mass-market appeal, with premium brands giving vodka and whiskey stiff competition.
Several local businesses are capitalizing on the trend, offering unique products through restaurants and retailers across the Valley and the country.
Queen Creek residents Debbie Medina and Jonathan Gach introduced Señor Rio tequila last year when they started their business, Jalisco International Imports. The idea was launched after the couple traveled to Mexico to visit Medina’s father, who served them homemade tequila.
“He would bring out this tequila that he was making, and when we got back to Arizona, it was like a light bulb went off,” Gach said.
In the past year, the couple has found a grower of agave (the plant that provides tequila’s key ingredient) and distillery in Jalisco, Mexico; set up a warehouse in Gilbert for the product; and secured shelf space at major beverage stores, while working to get the brand into bars and restaurants. So far, the pair are running the business alone.
This isn’t the only metro Phoenix-area venture tapping into tequila.
El Mirage is home to 3 Amigos Tequila, founded by the Gonzalez family in 2005. The company employs eight in the U.S. and 20 in Mexico.
With relatives in Mexico overseeing efforts there, the company grows agave on family land, distills the product and packages it for export to the U.S.
“One of my cousins is our master distiller in Mexico. He walks the fields and marks the agave that are ready for harvest,” said Ramon Gonzalez, director of regulation for 3 Amigos.
That attention to detail seems to be paying off. Tequila is tempting the tastebuds of more Americans as they expand beyond the spirit’s best-known brands, Jose Cuervo and Patron.
“Tequila remains one of the fastest-growing beverage categories. It isn’t just considered a margarita ingredient anymore.” said Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council, a Washington-based industry group. “People are making new and different cocktails, and there’s been an explosion of excellent tequila cocktails.”
According to the council, sales of tequila totaled
$1.65 billion in 2009 — up by $48.5 million, or 3 percent, from 2008.
“This is really being driven by the idea of a sipping tequila, much like whiskey,” Coleman said. “And when people enjoy a fine tequila in a restaurant, they may well buy it in a retail store and enjoy it at home.”
Another tequila manufacturer, Los Diablos International, is based in Scottsdale. The company was founded by two brothers, Saulo and Joseph “Pep” Katcher, and their friend Todd Nelson. It has expanded its market share to include Texas and Canada since it introduced small batches of its Cruz Tequila to the Valley in 2008.
Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Blanco Tacos and Tequila in Scottsdale sets itself apart by offering a range of tequilas. The East Valley eatery serves almost 60 kinds of the Mexican spirit, including 3 Amigos.
Tequila is gaining a following across all of the Fox restaurants, according to Regan Jasper, the company’s partner and beverage director.
“The crowd that is experimenting with it isn’t the college crowd; it’s the 25-and-up diner that’s coming in. Tequila as a spirit has really gotten a lot of attention,” Jasper said.
That’s helping both 3 Amigos and Señor Rio experience success during the recession.
The Gonzalez family just inked a deal with Pacific Spirits, a Hawaiian distributor that will take 3 Amigos into the Pacific region. That is in addition to distributors in both Northern and Southern California, Texas, Idaho, Illinois and Tennessee.
Distribution deals put the products onto the shelves of bars, restaurants and other commercial establishments
One day, the brother of my childhood friend Megan asked her, "Megan, why are you playing with that Chinese girl?" At age 7, I was confused because I was Korean, not Chinese. Moreover, why should my friend not invite me to her house?
That was some time ago while growing up in Arizona. Today, I'm a student at Princeton University, where I have discovered an overwhelming population of Asian-Americans -17.7 percent of the freshman class alone. There are no overt acts of discrimination such as those I encountered during my primary education in Arizona, but I observed more interaction between Asians than with other ethnicities. Asian-Americans have become more aware of others who share their cultural background.
Does this suggest an incomplete integration into society?
The U.S., the land of immigrants, is characterized by its acceptance of different cultures. But is everyone really equal?
My experiences tells me no.
Although Asian-Americans have been relatively successful in the United States, prejudice has persisted for over 100 years. The Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese-Korean Exclusion League illustrate two overt actions of discrimination.
To overcome this obstacle, Asian-Americans have found an answer to the assimilation question: economic gain.
According to Lisa Sun-Hee Park, an expert in the field of sociology, Asian-Americans pursue economic advancement, because the "possession of material goods symbolize[s] that one contributes to rather than burdens the United States."
Even though hard-working Asian-Americans have been steadily rising in socioeconomic class, these efforts hit a glass ceiling that impedes Asian-American efforts to achieve leadership positions.
Marlene Kim and Don Mar, researchers in Asian-American economic status, describe that college-educated Asian citizens are underrepresented in management positions when compared to Caucasian citizens.
A glass ceiling exists to prevent "too much" progress. Nevertheless, economic gain is an important part of the American identity for Asian citizens.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th-century French historian and political observer, suggested that a dedication to economic gain prevents interests in spheres outside the monetary world. In this way, Asian-Americans are pressured to create goals that depend on the never-ending acquisition of money. Their desire for assimilation makes them blind to citizen responsibilities such as political participation.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the percentage of voter turnout among Asian-Americans in the 2008 national election (32.1) was much lower compared with Caucasians (58.2) and African-Americans (60.8). Moreover, Asian-Americans make up about 5 percent of the American population but hold only 12 of the 535 seats in Congress, or 2.2 percent. These disparities suggest that political participation and representation in the Asian-American community fall noticeably behind those of other groups.
However, Asian-American political activity has been growing with increasing income. Asian-American voter registration and turnout are slowly rising, and the number of representatives in government has been increasing over the past few years. These trends inspire hope that Asian citizens will become more assimilated into society.
To accomplish this, American society must consciously erase the prejudice that taints democracy in the U.S. Meanwhile, Asian-Americans will continue to strive for an equal opportunity in our democracy.
Booyeon Han is a graduate of Desert Vista High School and is a student at Princeton Univer sity. She is a 2009 Presidential Scholar and was inspired by the LEAD Academy at Arizona State University to write a research paper that corresponds to the topic of this op-ed piece.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared our national economic agenda "begins with jobs." So does mine. I'm dedicating myself to a 30-day, nationwide tour to launch my newest book, "Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You."
"Use Your Head" is loaded with silver bullets. I even enlisted the help of readers of this column. They delivered great tips ranging from networking your way to work to tapping a totally new career.
People have asked me, "Harvey, what is the most bankable advice 'Use Your Head' has to offer'?" A tough call, but here are the 10 tips with the greatest traction:
1. Getting a job is a job. You have to get a routine and stick to it. And it's a 16-hour-a-day proposition. Get back in shape. Read. Network. Volunteer.
2. Rehearse job interviews in your home. Invite members of your personal "kitchen cabinet" to pose tough questions and to critique your performance.
3. Never lie on your resume, but always remember a resume's purpose is to get you an interview. Use industry-accepted terms to describe what you do. If you try to make yourself seem too special, firms won't know what to make of you.
4. After every interview, use the Mackay 22 to debrief yourself. Make notes, including how your resume played and how you could fine-tune it. Use the Mackay 44 to prepare for your interview. Both forms are available on my Web site, harveymackay.com.
5. On resumes and in interviews, point to specifics in your achievements. If you're a manager, showcase the people you've developed in your career and where they are today.
6. Learn how to use the Invisible Web to know more than you ever thought you could (or should) about your interviewer and the company you are interviewing with.
7. The Internet is forever ... and it's everywhere. Countless people have torpedoed their chances by uploading career-suicide videos and party antics onto social-networking sites such as Facebook. Used properly, social-networking vehicles such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help you enhance your network. And networking is how two-thirds of all jobs are found.
8. Respect your references. Recruiters check out these resources more thoroughly than ever before. Make sure your praise singers know in advance that you're listing them and how appreciative you are of their help. Firms will also contact people who aren't your fans.
9. The early bird may get the worm, but late birds get the job. You never want to be a warm-up act. Like the Academy Awards, the strongest contenders are those appearing at year-end.
10. Never negotiate your starting salary based on what you need. Base your argument on the marketplace and what you have to offer. Always have hard research handy to prove you know your numbers. But if all else fails, offer to work for free for a trial period until you prove yourself.
These are serious times, and job hunters need all the best advice they can get. After all, 17 percent of the workforce is on the street, counting those who have stopped looking.
People are learning that today's outing on the job market is no one-time stand. It's just another step in a lifetime job search. Are you committed to yours?
Mackay's Moral: Getting a job is a job. But land a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life.
Note: Harvey Mackay will sign his new book "Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door" from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Borders at the Biltmore, 2402 E. Camelback Road. The public is invited. All royalties will go to the Fresh Start Women's Foundation.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
CBC News Friday, January 22, 2010 | 10:08 PM ET
A green sea slug found off North America's east coast not only looks like a leaf, but can also make food out of sunlight, just like a plant.
U.S. researchers have found that the sea slug Elysia chlorotica can photosynthesize, using energy from light to convert carbon dioxide into sugars.
"If you shine light on these slugs, they fix carbon dioxide and make oxygen just like a plant," Sidney Pierce of the University of South Florida told CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.
Pierce reported his findings Jan. 7 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and has submitted his research to the journal Symbiosis.
The slugs look just like a leaf, green and about three centimetres long, and are found off the east coast of North America from Nova Scotia to Florida.
They acquire the ability to photosynthesize by eating algae and incorporating the plants' tiny chlorophyll-containing structures, called chloroplasts, into their own cells.
"Certain cells that line the walls of [the slugs'] digestive tubules are able to actually take up the chloroplasts from the algae, and they sequester them in the cells for very long periods of time," said Pierce.
Pierce said the chloroplasts can live inside the slugs' cells for nine or 10 months, nearly the entire lifetime of the slug, and can provide the animal with all the energy it needs.
"It can complete its entire life cycle, including reproduction, just on photosynthesis," he said.
With the help of radioactive trackers, Pierce found that the slugs are using the chloroplasts to make new chlorophyll, the green pigment that makes photosynthesis possible.
Gene transfer a revelation
The chloroplasts from algae aren't enough in themselves to allow the slugs to live off the sun. The process of photosynthesis requires enzymes and other proteins to keep the chloroplasts working.
"That requires a lot of genes that are present in the algal cell, and so those have been transferred as well," said Pierce.
At some point in the evolution of these sea slugs, genes from the algae transferred over and now reside in the genome of the slug.
"We found 14 or 15 algal genes so far and I'm pretty confident that we're going to find dozens more," said Pierce.
Gene transfers are common in single-celled organisms, but Pierce said this is the first time it has been described in multicellular organisms.
Exactly how the genes got from the algae to the slug isn't clear, but Pierce said research into this mechanism could lead to advances in gene therapy and genetic engineering.
Pierce said gene therapists are "trying to insert genes from one organism to another to fix genetically based diseases, and honestly that doesn't work very well yet, but these slugs have figured that out."
The mechanism could also be important in the study of evolution, giving biologists a new way to explain how organisms acquired certain genes.
"You don't have to sit around waiting for a random mutation to occur. You can take a gene or a group of genes, as is the case with the slugs, and really give yourself a real evolutionary boost," said Pierce.
Monday, February 15, 2010
by Harvey Mackay - Feb. 15, 2010 12:00 AM
In Greek mythology, Pandora opened her fabled box and let out all evils except for hope, which Greeks considered to be as dangerous as the world's other evils. Soon they discovered that without hope to offset their troubles, humanity was filled with despair. So Pandora let out hope as well. In the myth, hope was more potent than any of the other major evils.
In modern times, we consider hope to be anything but evil. It's what gets many of us through our worst days. Lingering unemployment, foreclosure, dwindling retirement funds, businesses folding - any of these could make a person lose hope.
In the current business climate, hope is what keeps us from throwing in the towel. I'm a realist, but I'm also an optimist. And while hope and optimism are not exactly the same, they are intrinsically linked.
For example, I am optimistic that the economy will eventually improve, and I am hopeful that we can learn lasting lessons from events that led to our business challenges. But I can't just wait and hope. I have to help things happen.
Hope looks at what is possible and builds on that. As former TV executive and author Squire Rushnell puts it, "Take the 'imp' out of impossible!" Instead, he says, read it as "I'm possible."
In one of my favorite inspirational books, "Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do," my friend Robert Schuller offers up this observation: "Understand the power of this word: impossibility. When uttered aloud, this word is devastating in its effect. Thinking stops. Progress is halted. Doors slam shut. Research comes to a screeching halt. Further experimentation is torpedoed. Projects are abandoned. Dreams are discarded. The brightest and the best of creative brain cells turn off. In this defensive maneuver, the brain shelters itself against the painful sting of insulting disappointments, brutal rejections and dashed hopes.
"But let someone utter the magic words, 'It's possible.' Buried dreams are resurrected. Sparks of fresh enthusiasm flicker. Tabled motions are brought back to the floor. Dusty files are reopened. Lights go on again in the darkened laboratories. Telephones start ringing. Typewriters make clattering music. Budgets are revised and adopted. 'Help wanted' signs are hung out. Factories are retooled and reopened. New products appear. New markets open. The recession has ended. A great new era of adventure, experimentation, expansion and prosperity is born."
This advice, penned more than 25 years ago, is just as pertinent today. In fact, when you consider the advances of the past quarter century, look at how we have changed the face of businesses: Did anyone have a Web site in 1985? What was your cellphone number?
What will the next 25 years hold? I suspect that the coming generations will use their technologies in ways we are just beginning to imagine are possible. I am certain that products will be developed that will make life easier, safer and better. I have every hope that we have the brainpower and the will to do just that.
But we cannot accomplish much at all if we don't have hope. Hope is believing that every cloud has a silver lining, and when that cloud rains, it makes things grow. And then the sun comes out again.
British anthropologist Jane Goodall has spent more than 50 years conducting landmark research on wild chimpanzees and great apes and observing the tremendous power of nature to restore itself. She shares these thoughts: "I carry a few symbols with me ... to remind me of the hope that there is in the world: the human brain, with the technology that we are now working to try and live in greater harmony with the environment; the resilience of nature - give nature a chance and it's amazing how places that we've destroyed can bloom again; the tremendous energy, commitment, excitement and dedication of young people once they know what the problems are and we empower them to act to do something about it. And finally, the indomitable human spirit, those people who tackle impossible tasks and won't give in ... that are shining inspiration to those around them."
Mackay's Moral: Hope for the best and then find a way to make it happen.
by Parker Leavitt The Arizona Republic Feb. 15, 2010 12:00 AM
David Kadlubowski/The Arizona Republic. Tina Peng performs a Dai dance Sunday at the ChineseCulteral Center in Phoenix.
Thousands gathered at Phoenix's Chinese Cultural Center on Sunday to usher in the Lunar New Year and celebrate China's rich tradition and culture.
Phoenix Chinese Week, which began on Friday, drew between 10,000 and 15,000 people over three days, event organizers estimate.
Sunday marked the first day of the "Year of the Tiger," which some consider the luckiest sign in the Chinese zodiac.
Many festivalgoers agreed that after years of worldwide economic recession and hardship, any good luck the new year may be bring would be welcome.
"I just want to forget the bad things of the last year and hope for a lucky, happy new year," said Tempe resident Siwei Zhang, who came from Wuhan, China, to study at Arizona State University.
The first Year of the Tiger came about 4,700 years ago, about the same time the Egyptians were building the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge was being erected in what is now England.
The Lunar New Year carries with it numerous traditions and customs intended to bring families together and invite a year's worth of good fortune.
Phoenix resident Tony Tang, 54, said his family spends hours together cooking traditional Chinese holiday foods, such as kok-jai cookies and rice cakes.
"Technically we're not supposed to cook for three days," Tang said. "We're supposed to live off all of the food we made for the New Year."
After sharing a large meal, which Tang said was like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners combined, his family spends the evening talking and playing games.
"It's our own little family search for happiness," said Samuel Ng, Tang's brother-in-law, who brought his family to visit from San Diego.
In another widespread tradition, children receive red envelopes, called hongbao, filled with money from their parents and grandparents. For young people, it can be the most lucrative ritual of the year.
"I got some new clothes, new shoes and money," said Cedric Jiang, 18, of Las Vegas.
But in a world of seemingly endless distractions and time constraints, Tang said some families are finding it harder to come together to celebrate.
"Many families are losing their traditions, especially in this country, because much of their family may still be abroad," Tang said.
Instead, much of the Valley's booming Asian-American population use festivals such as Phoenix Chinese Week to meet friends who share a common background.
"For those of us who are immigrants, from a foreign country, this is the one time we can meet with people with similar traditions," said Emma Ditsworth, 52, originally from Taiwan.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2008 that there were about 162,000 Asian-Americans in Arizona, comprising approximately 2.5 percent of the state's population.
In 2000, 1.8 percent of Arizonans, or about 92,000 people, identified themselves as Asian-American, according to the census.
"That's a huge increase," Census worker Albert Lin said. "The Asian community is probably the second-fastest growing group (in Arizona), second only to Hispanics."
Sunday's event at the Chinese Cultural Center featured dozens of booths selling food, jewelry, toys, and art. A small "cultural village" displayed several ancient inventions that originated in China, including a compass, a seismograph and an abacus.
Danny Young, vice president of Phoenix Chinese Week, said the organization was happy with the turnout.
The annual event, he said, has come along way since it began 20 years ago as a handful of tables and booths in Patriots Square Park.
"There's no Chinatown here, so the intent is just to show what Chinese culture is about and broaden everyone's knowledge of other cultures," Young said.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
"Lady Universe," by Lalla Benefield, is just one of the several pieces of art showcased in the African American Vibes of the City.
In a state that's population is predominately Caucasian and Hispanic, sometimes other ethnic groups get little recognition for their contributions to
African American Vibes of the City: 'Mixed Media Art Exhibition'
When: 6 to 8 p.m. opening reception Friday, Feb. 5. Exhibition through Feb. 27.
Details: 602-262-4627, phoenix.gov/ PARKS/phxctr.html.
First Fridays art walk
As such, 11 years ago, Larry Wilson, a local artist and a former arts coordinator for
According to the 2008 census,
"I created this event originally as an educational process,"
When the exhibition first began, seven African-American artists participated. This year, more than 35 are expected at "African American Vibes of the City" exhibition at the
"A lot of the artists who started with us continue to show at this event,"
Stacia Holmes, a recreational coordinator for
"There are not a whole lot of galleries that cater to or specialize in artwork by African-Americans," she said.
The event will feature both two- and three-dimensional works of art, such as photography, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and metals, from prominent Valley artists such as Lalla Benefield, Chinue Moore and Stephen Marc.
"It is important to let the African-American community, especially the kids, know that if you have this kind of talent, it shouldn't be swept under the rug,"
The exhibition will open with a free First Friday gallery reception 6 to 8 p.m. Friday during which visitors can tour the gallery, meet the artists and enjoy live music and refreshments.
"It is a unique event,"
Saturday, February 6, 2010
- JacksonPollock.org is one of the most famous works of Internet Art, made by Miltos Manetas in 2003.
- Introducing the new Apple's Tablet Computer Named IPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that "JacksonPollock.org" is one of the best websites to experience the iPad and "Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas" is definitelly the best application for the iPad. (link)
- JacksonPollock.org is People's Voice Winner of the Webby Awards
- Time Magazine listed JacksonPollock.org on the Top 50 coolest websites
- JacksonPollock by Miltos Manetas is also an iphone app and an ipod application. See the comments page for the application here.
- JacksonPollock.org is a Neen artwork
Now you can change the background colour and the colour of the drip! Enter the new Pollock
We are experiencing some problems with Explorer for Windows.. try it with some other browser..
Press any key to get a different background colour
Press SPACE to erase
Press ALT and any key to change the colour of the drip
numbers 1-0 also change the background/drip colour as well as right-left arrow and up and down arrow
Also, in case you want to print out Pollocks, there is a way to save them in highres and have a perfect output without any pixel showing. You need to have Adobe Acrobat installed (the program not just the Reader) and then you choose to print as a PDF. Try it!
We are now hiring! We are looking for iphone programmers for new iphone applications. Please write at firstname.lastname@example.org
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