Window to the World, calling for Wind of Wisdom,
as common sense is a gift to each soul,
as common environment is the inseparable planet,
as common desire is to live in a better world.


Fun, Fitness, and Games - Shigeru Miyamoto’s Newest Wii Fit

Original Source: New York Times

(quote)

IT’S O.K. to liken Shigeru Miyamoto to Walt Disney. When Disney died in 1966, Mr. Miyamoto was a 14-year-old schoolteacher’s son living near Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. An aspiring cartoonist, he adored the classic Disney characters. When he wasn’t drawing, he made his own toys, carving wooden puppets with his grandfathers’ tools or devising a car race from a spare motor, string and tin cans. Even as he has become the world’s most famous and influential video-game designer — the father of Donkey Kong, Mario, Zelda and, most recently, the Wii — Mr. Miyamoto still approaches his work like a humble craftsman, not as the celebrity he is to gamers around the world.

Perched on the end of a chair in a hotel suite a few dozen stories above Midtown Manhattan, the preternaturally cherubic 55-year-old Mr. Miyamoto radiated the contentment of someone who has always wanted to make fun. And he has. As the creative mastermind at Nintendo for almost three decades, Mr. Miyamoto has unleashed mass entertainment with a global breadth, cultural endurance and financial success unsurpassed since Disney’s fabled career.

Mario, the mustached Italian plumber he created almost 30 years ago, has become by some measures the planet’s most recognized fictional character, rivaled only by Mickey Mouse. As the creator of the Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda series (which have collectively sold more than 350 million copies) and the person who ultimately oversees every Nintendo game, Mr. Miyamoto may be personally responsible for the consumption of more billions of hours of human time than anyone around. In the Time 100 online poll conducted this spring, Mr. Miyamoto was voted the most influential person in the world.

But it isn’t just traditional gamers who are flocking to Mr. Miyamoto’s latest creation, the Wii. Eighteen months ago, just when video games were in danger of disappearing into the niche world of fetishists, Mr. Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s chief executive, practically reinvented the industry. (Mr. Miyamoto’s full title is senior managing director and general manager of Nintendo’s entertainment analysis and development division.) Their idea was revolutionary in its simplicity: rather than create a new generation of games that would titillate hard-core players, they developed the Wii as an easy-to-use, inexpensive diversion for families (with a particular appeal to women, an audience generally immune to the pull of traditional video games). So far the Wii has sold more than 25 million units, besting the competition from Sony and Microsoft.

Last week Nintendo released its new Wii Fit system in North America, a device that hopes to make doing yoga in front of a television screen almost as much fun as driving, throwing, jumping or shooting in a traditional game. Though there were no hard sales figures available as of Tuesday, there were reports of stores across the country selling out of Wii Fit.

(unquote)

Shigeru Miyamoto illustrates the Wii Fit system

new interactive physical fitness device from Nintendo

Social Networks and Kicking Bad Habits - Quitting Smoking Can Be Contagious

Original Source: Reuters

(quote)

The same team of experts who found that obesity may be socially contagious said they found similar patterns among smokers, with people clearly influencing others in their social and family networks. In fact, the most isolated people are now those who remain the most addicted as their personal networks get pushed to the fringes, they wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School in Boston and Dr. James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, studied 12,067 people who have been taking part in the Framingham study -- a study of the health and habits of nearly an entire town in Massachusetts -- for the past 32 years. "We've found that when you analyze large social networks, entire pockets of people who might not know each other all quit smoking at once," Christakis said in a statement. "What appears to happen is that people quit in droves."

Smoking is becoming increasingly less common in the United States. In 1965, 42 percent of the population smoked, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number has fallen to around 20 percent. When the Framingham study started, around 37 percent of adults smoked. Spouses had strong effects -- when someone quit, his or her spouse was 67 percent less likely to continue smoking. Quitters influenced their brothers or sisters -- siblings were 25 percent less likely to smoke if one of them quit, while the friend of someone who kicked the habit was 36 percent less likely to smoke. Even co-workers are influential -- in small firms, a quitter could decrease smoking among peers by 34 percent.

Richard Suzman, who directs behavioral studies at the National Institute of Aging, said the research could influence policy. "The results suggest new and probably more powerful approaches to changing health behaviors, such as smoking, by careful targeting of small peer groups as well as single individuals," he said.

(unquote)

Images courtesy of Reuters and iStockPhoto

kicking the habit may be contagious

social influence on healthy behavior

Beyond Blogs - How Blogs, Wikis, and Social Media Have Changed the Way Businesses Work

Original Source: BusinessWeek

(quote)

...blogs, it turns out, are just one of the do-it-yourself tools to emerge on the Internet. Vast social networks such as Facebook and MySpace offer people new ways to meet and exchange information. Sites like LinkedIn help millions forge important work relationships and alliances. These social connectors are changing the dynamics of companies around the world. Millions of us are now hanging out on the Internet with customers, befriending rivals, clicking through pictures of our boss at a barbecue, or seeing what she read at the beach. It's as if the walls around our companies are vanishing and old org charts are lying on their sides.

This can be disturbing for top management, who are losing control, at least in the traditional sense. Workers can fritter away hours on YouTube. They can use social networks to pillory a colleague or leak secrets. That's the downside, and companies that don't adapt are sure to get lots of it. But there's an upside to the loss of control. Ambitious workers use these tools to land new deals and to assemble global teams for collaborative projects. The potential for both better and worse is huge, and it's growing—and since 2005 the technologies involved extend far beyond blogs.  read more »

Poem in Art: ...Sits and smiles on the night. - William Blake

Poem in Art: ...Sits and smiles on the night. - William Blake

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.

- William Blake

Scientists Observe Birth of a Supernova, Captured on Camera For the First Time

Original Source: Spaceflight Now

(quote)

PRINCETON, NJ -- When she peered into the screen of her computer one day in January, Alicia Soderberg was supposed to see a small, dull glowing smudge in one corner, the evidence of a month-old supernova that would help her better understand the mystery of these huge exploding stars. What the Princeton University astronomer saw instead was anything but dull. As Soderberg and Edo Berger, a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton, studied the X-ray emissions conveyed from space by NASA's Swift satellite, they saw an extremely bright light that seemed to jump out of the sky. They didn't know it, but they had just become the first astronomers to have caught a star in the act of exploding. The once-in-a-lifetime event, described in a paper published in the May 22 issue of Nature, has transfixed the worldwide astronomical community.

Soderberg and Berger wanted to observe a supernova known as SN 2007uy in the spiral galaxy NGC 2770, located 90 million light years from Earth in the constellation Lynx. They could plan to do that because they are able to view images captured by the telescope a few hours after the observation merely by downloading the data from the Swift website. The sudden appearance nearby of the X-ray burst of the newer supernova, easily captured by the NASA satellite with multiple instruments that can detect gamma rays, X-rays and ultraviolet light, has set scientists on a new path. "This phenomenon had been predicted more than 30 years ago, but is now observed for the first time," said Roger Chevalier, the W.H. Vanderbilt Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia. "These are the earliest observations of light from a supernova after the central collapse that initiated the explosion."

In the Nature paper, Soderberg and 38 colleagues show that the energy and pattern of the X-ray outburst is consistent with what scientists would have expected to see in the birth of a neutron star -- a shock wave blasting through the surface of the original massive star. Until now, astronomers have only been able to observe supernovae brightening days or weeks after the event, when the expanding shell of debris is energized by the decay of radioactive elements forged in the explosion.

(unquote)

Photos Courtesy of AFP and NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan Immler

SN 2007uy in galaxy NGC 2770 before SN 2008D exploded

bright X-ray burst from an exploding star, and appearance of  SN 2008D

supernova remnant with a pulsar at its center

From Ice Queen to Dance Queen - Kristi Yamaguchi Crowned Winner of 'Dancing With the Stars'

Original Source: Associated Press

(quote)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After four consecutive male winners on "Dancing With the Stars," it was finally ladies' night. Kristi Yamaguchi was named the new "Dancing" champ on the show's season finale, becoming the first woman to win the ABC dance-off since its inaugural season. The figure skater came into the final contest Tuesday with a perfect score and bested fan favorites Jason Taylor and Cristian de la Fuente to claim the mirrorball trophy. "This is definitely for all those women out there to continue to be strong," she said after the show, hoisting the prize above her head.

The Olympic gold medalist was clearly the most talented dancer on this season's competition, regularly landing atop the judges' scoreboard. But viewer votes count just as much, and with the audience 75 percent female, men have had the edge. Last season ended with a shocker when race-car driver Helio Castroneves upset Spice Girl Melanie Brown.

Taylor, the massive but graceful pro football star, called Yamaguchi "just perfect," adding that he "grew up watching her compete for our country." De la Fuente, who was eliminated early in the two-hour season finale, said "it was impossible to beat her." His professional partner, Cheryl Burke, agreed. "Kristi deserved it more than any other woman in any other season," she said. "It's about time that a woman wins."

Winning the "Dancing" crown doesn't quite compare to winning an Olympic gold medal, Yamaguchi said, but it's still "a fun, amazing experience." "It's not just this (trophy) but what it represents," she said. "It's all the hard work and the time spent together and the friendships made, challenging yourself and learning something new."

Though Taylor and de la Fuente didn't win, each was victorious in his own way. Besides forming a close friendship with each other, Taylor, an aspiring actor, has taken meetings with Hollywood heavyweights, and de la Fuente learned an important life lesson. The actor ruptured a tendon in his biceps while dancing on April 28, but delayed the surgery necessary to repair it so he could continue in the contest.

"It's about wanting something in life and going for it," he said. "In this case it was a dance show, but it can be anything that you're afraid of. Go for it. Do it. The reward that you get when you put your heart, your soul, everything you've got in something, it's priceless."

(unquote)

Photos Courtesy of ABC

Dancing With the Stars: Kristi Yamaguchi, Mark Ballas

Dancing With the Stars: Edyta Sliwinska, Jason Taylor

Dancing With the Stars: Cheryl Burke, Cristian De La Fuente

Dancing With the Stars: Tony Dovolani, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Tom Bergeron

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Before man to blow to right
The wind once blew itself untaught,
And did its loudest day and night
In any rough place where it caught.

Man came to tell it what was wrong:
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