The best movie costumes for Halloween (guys edition)

Halloween Series

Fabulous movie costumes for Halloween (Ladies Edition)

The most famous movie couples for Halloween

Now the fellas…

 

Frank Rossitano (30 Rock)

 

Ferris Bueller

Ron Burgundy

Continue reading The best movie costumes for Halloween (guys edition)

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

Today, October 7, 2011, is Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in technology, engineering, mathematics, and science.

A day for all the geek girls out there. Yes you. You are beautiful and smart and talented.

We love you and the work you do.

Now, here is the life-story of the woman we celebrate.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

“Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill-health and bursts of energy.”

  • Born: December 10, 1815  to Anne Isabelle Milbanke and Lord Byron, his only legitimate daughter
  • Died: At the age of 36 from cancer, November 27, 1852
  • Education: Mathematics at an early age, later in science and logic
  • Family: Married William King the 1st Earl of Lovelace and had three children.
  • Lived: Ockham Park and London
  • Nickname: Enchantress of Numbers
  • Self-Nickname: An analyst and metaphysician

Her Biography, from the Women in Science section at the San Diego Supercomputer Center:

Ada was the daughter of a brief marriage between the Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who separated from Byron just a month after Ada was born. Four months later, Byron left England forever. Ada never met her father (who died in Greece in 1823) and was raised by her mother, Lady Byron. Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill-health and bursts of energy.

Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetical father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies. But Ada’s complex inheritance became apparent as early as 1828, when she produced the design for a flying machine. It was mathematics that gave her life its wings.

Lady Byron and Ada moved in an elite London society, one in which gentlemen not members of the clergy or occupied with politics or the affairs of a regiment were quite likely to spend their time and fortunes pursuing botany, geology, or astronomy. In the early nineteenth century there were no “professional” scientists (indeed, the word “scientist” was only coined by William Whewell in 1836)–but the participation of noblewomen in intellectual pursuits was not widely encouraged.

One of the gentlemanly scientists of the era was to become Ada’s lifelong friend. Charles Babbage, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, was known as the inventor of the Difference Engine, an elaborate calculating machine that operated by the method of finite differences. Ada met Babbage in 1833, when she was just 17, and they began a voluminous correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects.

In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Ada had three children. The family and its fortunes were very much directed by Lady Byron, whose domineering was rarely opposed by King.

Babbage had made plans in 1834 for a new kind of calculating machine (although the Difference Engine was not finished), an Analytical Engine. His Parliamentary sponsors refused to support a second machine with the first unfinished, but Babbage found sympathy for his new project abroad. In 1842, an Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea, published a memoir in French on the subject of the Analytical Engine. Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked feverishly on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it. These are the source of her enduring fame.

Ada called herself “an Analyst (& Metaphysician),” and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for “developping [sic] and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity.” Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music.

Ada died of cancer in 1852, at the age of 37, and was buried beside the father she never knew.

On Being A Role Model: The Truth About My Forbes Interview with Leslie Bradshaw

When my friend Leslie Bradshaw, a woman who absolutely inspires me with her energy, ambition and insanely sharp business intellect, asked to interview me for her Forbes blog series “More Seats,” I said yes, with the understanding and intention of bringing more awareness to the lack of women contributors and editors in Wikipedia. Originally, Leslie was going to name the series “More Role Models” but changed it to reflect her purpose of addressing three major problems women face: not having enough women “at the table,” not enough women holding positions of power, and not enough women prevailing as role models.

When I began responding to Leslie’s questions, which ran the gamut of topics from the glass ceiling to work-life balance, I found myself having more and more reservations in answering. I didn’t tell Leslie this, but a part of me didn’t want to do the interview because I doubted my own worthiness as a role model.

It was in conflict with a lot of things I was taught growing up. I questioned why I was deserving of being interviewed. In my house, boasting in any way is “unbecoming.” And talking publicly about something so intimate and unsavory as being sexually harassed at work is disdainful. Then there’s the fact that I discussed my pursuit and passion, screenwriting, that has yet to produce any external reward.

Together these created a month-long delay in my responses. Until something happened that reminded me what it means to be a role model and why Leslie’s column is so important.

I was surfing, like I typically do, on a Wednesday evening in southern California. I’m still a beginner surfer. I have yet to graduate from my learner board. I’m at the point where I can stand and ride a wave but I fall a lot, especially when I take waves bigger than a few feet, which is affectionately called “eating sh$t” in surfer world. I eat sh$t a lot, but I have fun and improve each time I go out and that’s all that matters to me.

More times than not, I’m the sole female surfer in the water.  This evening was no exception. There were plenty of guys surfing but I was the only “Betty.”

So there I was doing my thing, when I notice a girl, maybe 10 or 12 years old, in the water nearby, staring at me. She must’ve watched me for a good 5 or 10 minutes, which made me feel completely self-conscious and I’m wondering why this little girl has an optical lock-in on me. Then she disappears. Goes back in shore. And I resume my uninhibited surfing fun.

Ten minutes later, she’s back in the water, but this time she has her dad with her and he has a surfboard and she’s asking him to teach her how to surf.  And half the time the two of them are watching me and mimicking what I’m doing in the water. That’s when I realized the power of role models and how important they are for anyone in a minority position.

Gloria Steinem recently said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, “We do what we see, not what we’re told.”

We become role models by doing. We learn and follow by seeing. I might have been the worst surfer out in the water that evening (which I don’t think I was), but because that little girl identified with me more than anyone else, I was her role model.

It made me appreciate the beauty of Leslie’s series all the more by reminding me of the power in seeing and hearing other women’s stories and that to be a role model, we just need to do, even if it means falling along the way. Who knows who might be watching.

You can check out my interview with Leslie in Forbes is here.

The theory on career development: what psychology says about choosing your passion

In college I studied psychology and absolutely loved its theories. The field is so new and unknown that simply being able to describe how people behave is an accomplishment. Freud, the most famous psychologist, was really just a creative writer with a bit of fact.

I find something powerful in these theories. They allow me to make sense of a life that is often confusing and complex. For example, I recently fulfilled a dream by going from corporate blogger to personal blogger (this site).

It’s a great time for me but can be tough, and when I tell this to friends and family I receive a whole range of reactions, from support to disdain.

It becomes hard, at times, to find people to relate with. Most in my corporate network have trouble sympathizing with my new lifestyle, and I with them.

Complaining about your boss is no longer relevant to me, and hearing about annoying people at Starbucks seems petty to most.

It got me thinking about why this happens and I found an interesting psychology theory. One that applies to more than mid-career changes, but also to parents, teachers, and counselors.

Social Cognitive Career Theory

Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) represents an effort to extend Bandura’s social cognitive theory to the context of career development.

It is part of a revolution in psychology that believes people are an active agents in, and shapers of, their career development. This element of self-direction can be just as important as genetic and environmental factors, and puts an emphasis on self-exploration as a model for strong career decisions.

The theory draws on three basic constructs self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and goals.

Self-Efficacy


Self-efficacy refers to personal beliefs about an individual’s capabilities to perform . They are context-specific, meaning they change depending on the topic (e.g. I can be a writer, but not an engineer).

It is surprising how many of us have strong beliefs about careers “we know we cannot do,” but where do these thoughts come from?

They are thought to develop from four sources:

  1. Personal accomplishments
  2. Vicarious experiences
  3. Social persuasion
  4. Physical and emotional states

Remember that these are beliefs not actual actions and results. Many of us will not try something, that we could be great at, simply because at some point in our life we developed a limiting belief.

Outcome Expectations


Outcome expectations are acquired through learning experiences with a strong focus on the consequences of a behavior (e.g. what will happen if I do this?).

The difference between self-efficacy and outcome expectations relates to beliefs about performance and consequences.

Self-efficacy is the belief that one can execute the behavior needed to produce the desired outcome (performance).

Outcome expectation is a person’s estimate that a certain behavior will produce a resulting outcome (consequence).

These expectations are thought to develop from:

  • Performing that action in the past
  • Observation of the outcomes produced by others
  • Attention to self-generated outcomes (e.g. self-approval)
  • Reaction of others to outcomes
  • Sensitivity to physical cues during task performance (emotional disturbance, sense of well-being)

Goals

Goal-setting has been defined as deciding on specific outcomes of learning or performance. By setting personal goals, people help to organize, guide, and sustain their own behavior, even through overly long intervals, without external reinforcement.

Thus goals constitute a critical mechanism through which people exercise personal agency or self-empowerment.

The interplay between self-efficacy and outcome expectations is constant. The achievement of a goal increases self-efficacy and improve outcome expectations for the next time. Often creating a positive reinforcement loop, or, through failure to achieve a goal, a lack of new goals in a negative reinforcement loop.

One factor that seems to strongly effect goal-setting is specificity. One study found that those with high self-efficacy tended to set specific goals, whereas those with low self-efficacy tended to set vague ones.

Those with specific goals tended to achieve more, set more challenging goals, progress more, and evaluate personal progress more effectively.

Conclusion

Thinking about your own, or your children’s, self-efficacy is important. Do you think you can do it?

If not, what is stopping you, are you thinking about something that prevents you from trying it?

Do you set goals, specific ones, and do you feel comfortable doing so?

In my situation, I find myself living and dying by goals. I have to self-start my day and continue pushing through distractions.

Having a specific but challenging goal has defined my work. Even more, it guides me through tough times and when questions of self-doubt arise.

But, then again, I think I have a high self-efficacy and a strange lack of fear for the outcomes of my behavior. How about you, is there one area you excel in or have trouble with?

Sources: Career Choice and DevelopmentSelf-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents, & Self-Efficacy, Motivation, and Outcome Expectation Correlates.

Photos: Cobalt123 (swimmer), Woodley Wonderworks (children’s table), Angie Torres (goal setting), & JJPacres (writing).

 

Happy Monday! 50 big name bankruptcies

I’ve got the Monday’s. What better way to celebrate than troll the bankruptcies. Did you know that Rembrandt lost it all in 1656 and so did Mark Twain in 1894 ?

Here is a list of the major brands that went under during the Great Recession (2008-11).

Of note, many of these companies are still alive, emerging from bankruptcy, or bought by another company.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Phoenix Coyotes
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Michael Vick
  5. Bill Buckner
  6. Lenny Dykstra
  7. Stephen Baldwin
  8. Sinbad
  9. Trump Entertainment Resorts
  10. National Enquirer
  11. MGM Studios
  12. Round Table Pizza
  13. Yellow Pages
  14. Tropicana Casinos
  15. Sbarro’s
  16. Philadelphia Orchestra
  17. The Octuplet Family
  18. Active Ride Shop
  19. Air America Radio
  20. Six Flags
  21. Filene’s Basement
  22. Fatburger
  23. Samsonite
  24. The Walking Company
  25. Borders
  26. Hollywood Video
  27. Circuit City
  28. Washington Mutual
  29. Black Angus
  30. Hometown Buffet
  31. Mrs. Fields
  32. Ritz Camera
  33. Nortel
  34. Claim Jumper
  35. Loehmann’s
  36. Big 10 Tires
  37. Z Gallerie
  38. KB Toys
  39. Midway Video Games
  40. Anchor Blue
  41. Eddie Bauer
  42. Crabtree & Evelyn
  43. Golfer’s Wharehouse
  44. Ziff Davis
  45. Tribune Company
  46. Sharper Image
  47. Mervyns
  48. Madoff Investment Securities
  49. Linens ‘n Things
  50. Levitz Furniture
  51. Countrywide Financial
  52. Bearing Point
  53. Fuddruckers
  54. Marie Callender’s

Historical Baseball Photos (1880-1915)

Baseball has it roots far back in history. A manuscript from France in 1344 has an illustration of monks and nuns playing a game of bat and ball. The modern beginnings most likely date back to the early 1700s in America. In 1744, the term “base-ball” was printed in an English book and in 1791 the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, kicked the ball players off their field by ordinance.

The records and photos of those days show a game gaining in popularity. Teams were popping up all over for recreation (after work, weekends). Mostly playing themselves but occasionally playing teams across the river, down the road.

In the 1800s the game went huge, particularly in New York where journalists referred to it as the “national pastime”. Leagues were formed, stadiums were built, and players were paid to play the game.

By the turn of the century baseball looked like the modern-day game, with owners, presidents, managers, and star players.

Here are some photos of that era pulled from the Library of Congress Archives.

**Note: It is commonly believed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839. This founding myth was fabricated by the prominent baseball figure A.G. Spalding to increase popularity for the game.**

 

Casey Stengel, 1915, Brooklyn Dodgers
Look at those gloves and shoes!
Hank O'Day, 1914, manager, Chicago Cubs
Harry Wright, 1887, manager, Philadelphia Quakers
Indiana, 1908
Morris Brown College, 1899 or 1900, African-American team, Atlanta, Georgia

 

Danbury, Connecticut, 1880, African-American baseball team
New York Mets, 1882
Umpire, Billy Evans, 1914
Umpire, Bill Klem, 1914
Boston Braves Stadium, 1914, Hank Gowdy batting

 

catcher, Ira Thomas, 1914, Philadelphia Athletics
AL club presidents, 1914: Frank Navin, Detroit; Benjamin S. Minor, Washington; Frank Farrell, N.Y.; Charles Comiskey, Chicago; Ban Johnson AL President; Joseph Lannin, Boston
Baldy Louden, 1914, Buffalo Federal League

 

More Photos

Historical Photos of European Royalty (1910-1915)

I’m off supermarkets (and all farmers market) (13 pics)

Two years ago (Sep, 09) I took an insane leap of faith and went completely off supermarkets. I was on a quest to find the healthiest food available and farmers markets were increasingly fitting the bill. My supermarket at the time, Whole Foods, was considered to offer superior food but was mostly overcharging me for inferior food.

The food at the farmers market was cheaper and tasted better, but I was only buying select items. It wasn’t accounting for my main meals everyday. So I cut the cord and said goodbye to processed, packaged foods, and refrigerated produce.

I figured I would last a week and run starving back to Whole Foods.

The world I encountered was so different from what I expected. Peaches that were so filling I could skip a meal. Desserts that I couldn’t over-eat and had to save for later. Items called “seconds” that cost pennies to the dollar only because they needed to be eaten right away.

I was hooked. My worries quickly faded away and the weeks turned into months. Now, here I am years later and still enthralled. The food varies each week but is always filling and tasty.

Below is a photo-sample of this weeks purchases. Enjoy!

And, if you are thinking of trying out farmers markets, or even getting off supermarkets, I give you a virtual high-five. It will be the best decision you ever make.

Jalapeños, super hot. They use to be green, but turn red as they dry. When dry they flake and can be used for spicing it up.

 

Staggered avocado bag. Each one ripens at a different time in the week.
Country White and Cheese.
Watermelon is almost gone and super cheap ($3)
Bean sprouts.
Easy to cook (3 mins) and doesn't need sauce, just a few cut-up vegetables, cheese.
Concord grapes.
3 for $10
BBQ the corn. Dip the broccoli in the hummus.
Perfect for quesadillas and pasta
For meatball sandwiches.
The honey is for making ice cream.
The old-school italian farmer said three of these (dried Jujubes) every morning keeps you regular.

I'm off supermarkets (and all farmers market) (13 pics)

Two years ago (Sep, 09) I took an insane leap of faith and went completely off supermarkets. I was on a quest to find the healthiest food available and farmers markets were increasingly fitting the bill. My supermarket at the time, Whole Foods, was considered to offer superior food but was mostly overcharging me for inferior food.

The food at the farmers market was cheaper and tasted better, but I was only buying select items. It wasn’t accounting for my main meals everyday. So I cut the cord and said goodbye to processed, packaged foods, and refrigerated produce.

I figured I would last a week and run starving back to Whole Foods.

The world I encountered was so different from what I expected. Peaches that were so filling I could skip a meal. Desserts that I couldn’t over-eat and had to save for later. Items called “seconds” that cost pennies to the dollar only because they needed to be eaten right away.

I was hooked. My worries quickly faded away and the weeks turned into months. Now, here I am years later and still enthralled. The food varies each week but is always filling and tasty.

Below is a photo-sample of this weeks purchases. Enjoy!

And, if you are thinking of trying out farmers markets, or even getting off supermarkets, I give you a virtual high-five. It will be the best decision you ever make.

Jalapeños, super hot. They use to be green, but turn red as they dry. When dry they flake and can be used for spicing it up.

 

Staggered avocado bag. Each one ripens at a different time in the week.
Country White and Cheese.
Watermelon is almost gone and super cheap ($3)
Bean sprouts.
Easy to cook (3 mins) and doesn't need sauce, just a few cut-up vegetables, cheese.
Concord grapes.
3 for $10
BBQ the corn. Dip the broccoli in the hummus.
Perfect for quesadillas and pasta
For meatball sandwiches.
The honey is for making ice cream.
The old-school italian farmer said three of these (dried Jujubes) every morning keeps you regular.