The Wikipedia Exodus Is the Least of Our Worries

Web 2.0 will save us

“A Web 2.0 site is one that by definition gets its value from the actions of users. But what happens when the best users stop using?

Wikipedia, which is arguably the most valuable source of information on the Internet, is written and edited almost entirely by volunteers. But what happens when those volunteers stop volunteering?We’re about to find out. In the first quarter of this year, the Wikipedia lost an incredible 49,000 editors, literally ten times the number lost in the same quarter last year.Another potential threat to Wikipedia is that its expenses could outpace costs. Currently, the site runs on donations. But if the most die-hard fans are leaving — the writers and editors — they could take their donations with them.As volunteerism goes down, successful acts of vandalism go up, and the resource becomes increasingly unreliable, which could cause even more people to leave and even fewer people to donate. Crowdsoucing is great — until the crowd goes somewhere else.Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but the death of Wikipedia is the least of our problems. The Wikipedia exodus is the least of our worries…” — Mike Elgan (Datamation)

No Longer a Civil Rights Footnote

On that supercharged day in 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., she rode her way into history books, credited with helping to ignite the civil rights movement.

But there was another woman, named Claudette Colvin, who refused to be treated like a substandard citizen on one of those Montgomery buses — and she did it nine months before Mrs. Parks. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his political debut fighting her arrest. Moreover, she was the star witness in the legal case that eventually forced bus desegregation.

Yet instead of being celebrated, Ms. Colvin has lived unheralded in the Bronx for decades, initially cast off by black leaders who feared she was not the right face for their battle, according to a new book that has plucked her from obscurity.” (New York Times via abby)

Phil Agre Has Gone Missing

Philip Agre was an associate professor of information sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles, and for years he ran a popular technology e-mail list with thousands of subscribers. But one day the 49-year-old scholar just stopped showing up on the campus, and now colleagues have deployed Twitter, Facebook, and the Web to try to find him.

Last month the university police department put out a missing-person alert for Mr. Agre, whose absence was reported to authorities by his sister. The alert says he abandoned his apartment and his job “sometime between December 2008 and May 2009.” It also notes that he suffers from “manic depression.”

The scholar apparently had many professional contacts but few close friends. An expert on privacy, he was always guarded about his own, say those who know him.

“In his personal life, he never wanted to discuss social things,” said Charlotte Lee, an assistant professor of human-centered design and engineering at the University of Washington who worked under Mr. Agre when she was a doctoral student. ‘When his behavior got more erratic, nobody felt close enough to him to help, and we thought we'd help by protecting his zone of privacy,” she said. “Respecting that zone of privacy is what allowed him to slip away.’ ” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

As someone who was a participant in and subscriber to his ‘Red Rock Eaters’ mailing list for the duration, I am reposting this to spread the word. He is certainly someone who would know how to drop off the grid if he wished to, but I worry that something more dire has happened to him.

Monster Waves on the Sun

[Image 'https://i1.wp.com/science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/images/solartsunami/twoviews_strip.gif' cannot be displayed]

‘Years ago, when solar physicists first witnessed a towering wave of hot plasma racing along the sun's surface, they doubted their senses. The scale of the thing was staggering. It rose up higher than Earth itself and rippled out from a central point in a circular pattern millions of kilometers in circumference. Skeptical observers suggested it might be a shadow of some kind—a trick of the eye—but surely not a real wave.

“Now we know” says Joe Gurman of the Solar Physics Lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Solar tsunamis are real.” ‘ (NASA -Mystery of the Solar Tsunami–Solved)

African leaders advise Bono on reform of U2

Bono thanks Commission chairman Nelson Mandela for the report.

“An expert commission of African leaders today announced their plan for comprehensive reform of music band U2. Saying that U2’s rock had lost touch with its African roots, the commission called for urgent measures to halt U2’s slide towards impending crisis.

“Our youth today are imperiled by low quality music,” said Commission chairman Nelson Mandela. “We will be lending African musicians to U2 to try to refurbish their sound to satisfy the urgent and growing needs for diversionary entertainment at a time of crisis in the global music and financial sectors.”

Concerns about U2 have been growing in Africa for a while. One Western aid blogger testified to the Commission that his teenage kids found U2’s music “cheesy.” The Mandela Commission proposed that U2 follow a series of steps to recover its Edge:

1) Hire African consultants to analyze U2’s “poverty of music trap”

2) Prepare a Band-owned and Commission-approved Comprehensive U2 Reform Strategy Design (CURSD)

3) Undertake a rehabilitation tour of African capitals to field-test and ground-truth proposed reforms

4) Subject all songs to randomized experiments in which the effect on wellbeing of control and treatment groups is rigorously assessed.

Mandela expressed optimism that the Commission’s report and proposed reforms had come in time to stave off terminal crisis in U2, and restore its effectiveness in the 80s arena rock field.”

via Aid Watch.

‘The most inconvenient truth of all’

Brazilian Indigenous chiefs of the Kayapo trib...
Brazilian indigenous chiefs of the Kayapo tribe

“Measures to stop global warming risk being as harmful to tribal peoples as climate change itself, according to a new report from Survival.

The report, ‘The most inconvenient truth of all: climate change and indigenous people’, sets out four key ‘mitigation measures’ that threaten tribal people:

1. Biofuels: promoted as an alernative, ‘green’ source of energy to fossil fuels, much of the land allocated to grow them is the ancestral land of tribal people. If biofuels expansion continues as planned, millions of indigenous people worldwide stand to lose their land and livelihoods.

2. Hydro-electric power: A new boom in dam construction in the name of combating climate change is driving thousands of tribal people from their homes.

3. Forest conservation: Kenya’s Ogiek hunter-gatherers are being forced from the forests they have lived in for hundreds of years to ‘reverse the ravages’ of global warming.

4. Carbon offsetting: Tribal peoples’ forests now have a monetary value in the booming ‘carbon credits’ market. Indigenous people say this will lead to forced evictions and the ‘theft of our land’.” (Survival International)

Which is Your Favorite Thunderword?

Cover of "Finnegans Wake (Penguin Twentie...

‘Joyce described [Finnegans Wake] as a downwards parabola into sleep, or as a tunnel going through a mountain. As HCE moves through the dream, the “thunderwords” track his movement. There are 10 thunderwords, the first 9 of 100 letters each, the last of 101, for a total of 1,001–tales of a thousand and one nights, appropriate for this book of sleep.

As each thunderword leads into another part of the book, it fits into Joyce’s usage of Vico‘s philosophy to tell the story. Each thunderword leads to a new cycle and a deeper part of sleep, and a deeper, more muddled state in HCE’s mind (where the “mudmound” of his body fades from view and even the acrostics for HCE become muddled, as hec, ech, etc.). Thunder itself was important in Vico’s philosophy as a motivating force and a symbolic marker of events in history.

“There are ten thunders in the Wake. Each is a cryptogram or codified explanation of the thundering and reverberating consequences of the major technological changes in all human history. When a tribal man hears thunder, he says, ‘What did he say that time?’, as automatically as we say ‘Gesundheit.’ ” — Marshall McLuhan.’ (FinnegansWiki)

Here are the ten thunderwords, hyperlinked to their places in the FW text:

R.I.P. Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo’s Collaborator on Environmental Canvas Is Dead at 74. “Jeanne-Claude, who collaborated with her husband, Christo, on dozens of environmental art projects, notably the wrapping of the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin and the installation of 7,503 vinyl gates with saffron-colored nylon panels in Central Park, died Wednesday in Manhattan, where she lived. She was 74.” (New York Times obituary)

Diagnosis

By the time I was six months old, she knew something

was wrong with me. I got looks on my face

she had not seen on any child

in the family, or the extended family,

or the neighborhood. My mother took me in

to the pediatrician with the kind hands,

a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:

Hub Long. My mom did not tell him

what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.

It was just these strange looks on my face—

he held me, and conversed with me,

chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother

said, She’s doing it now! Look!

She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,

What your daughter has

is called a sense

of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me

back to the house where that sense would be tested

and found to be incurable.

`– Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009.

Uninsured Twice as Likely to Die in ER

“Uninsured patients with traumatic injuries, such as car crashes, falls and gunshot wounds, were almost twice as likely to die in the hospital as similarly injured patients with health insurance, according to a troubling new study.

The findings by Harvard University researchers surprised doctors and health experts who have believed emergency room care was equitable.” (Truthdig)

How Do You Say 2010?

Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious St...
Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious Stones

Today’s All Things Considered had a story about the division of opinion over how to refer to the name of next year Which is it, “two thousand ten” or “twenty ten”? One commenter said that “two thousand ten” is proper and polite; I think he went so far as to call it the “adult” thing to say. This gets right to the core debate about whether proper usage is vernacular — as spoken — or normative.

But, more important, the story did not address more vexing questions. First, what nickname will we use for 2010. 2009 was “oh nine”; will we say “one oh” or “oh ten” for short? For example, if you trade in your “oh five honda” for a new car, is it an “oh ten prius” or what?

And how will we refer to the decade to come in aggregate? This, it seems, has remained an unresolved issue with respect to the decade now ending: what came after the Nineties? The “oughts” or “noughts”? So are we heading into the “teens”? Does anyone know how people referred to the corresponding decades a century ago?

(And, no, I’m not going to beat a dead horse by mentioning that, of course, since there was no year zero, the decade does not really end for another year, until December 31, 2010. I thought we had put that one to rest a decade nine years ago at the turn of the century.)

Palin sees conspiracy in new dollar coins

Camp Buehring, Kuwait - Alaska Governor Sarah ...

“It now seems clear why the staff to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t want anyone to bring recording devices or cell phones to her speech Friday night.

Even news outlets like Politico — which have prominently featured Dick Cheney’s terror jeremiads — would have been likely to lampoon her.

But the ban on recording devices didn’t stop them. Politico says they bought three tickets to Palin’s Wisconsin speech and then penned a write-up. Their review was somewhat grim, taking aim at Palin’s frequent use of the words bogus and awesome and delivering a strange anecdote about dollar coins.

‘Palin had remarks prepared but frequently wandered off-script to make a point, offering audience members a casual awesome or bogus in discussing otherwise weighty topics’ Jonathan Martin wrote in his review…” (Raw Story)

Story

Silver Moon

“I don’t know what made me do it. It was like getting up late at night and going out to find the moon, hung full, at the end of the block. Framed, between the low row of houses. As if it had been there, waiting, all the time.

When I came back inside, there was my life, enormous about me. It hung, as in a story, and then started to shrink. A girl with pigtails came into the room and reached up and grabbed the thing like the moon and started swaying with it back and forth, tossing it up and down.

I lay down, letting the page turn, for choice. Letting the light come up, as a decision. When I woke, you were there, at the head-end of the crib, still in your blankets. A small form. Your breath like someone escaping, then being caught.

As if this time it will be different. Up in the sky, intact. A small stranger opening her arms. Letting the thin silver slip through into the blank before the hands can clasp. Or, in the undergrowth, the little squirrels, or in the dark burrows, beneath the house.” — Nadia Herman Colburn (RealPoetik)

New jihad code threatens al Qaeda

World map about terrorist attacks of al-Qaeda.
Worldwide map of al Qaeda terror attacks.

From within Libya’s most secure jail a new challenge to al Qaeda is emerging.

“Leaders of one of the world’s most effective jihadist organizations, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), have written a new “code” for jihad. The LIFG says it now views the armed struggle it waged against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime for two decades as illegal under Islamic law.

The new code, a 417-page religious document entitled “Corrective Studies” is the result of more than two years of intense and secret talks between the leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials.

The code's most direct challenge to al Qaeda is this: “Jihad has ethics and morals because it is for God. That means it is forbidden to kill women, children, elderly people, priests, messengers, traders and the like. Betrayal is prohibited and it is vital to keep promises and treat prisoners of war in a good way. Standing by those ethics is what distinguishes Muslims' jihad from the wars of other nations.”

The code has been circulated among some of the most respected religious scholars in the Middle East and has been given widespread backing. It is being debated by politicians in the U.S. and studied by western intelligence agencies.

Video: Into the prison in Tripoli

Gallery: The new jihadi code

In essence the new code for jihad is exactly what the West has been waiting for: a credible challenge from within jihadist ranks to al Qaeda's ideology.” (CNN.com via Steve Silberman)

Uncategorized

Cocaine and pepper spray – a lethal mix?

Capsaicin
Capsaicin

Deaths in US police custody during the early 1990s may have been the result of an interaction between capsaicin, the key ingredient in pepper sprays, and psychostimulant drugs, an experiment in mice suggests. If the two have a fatal interaction in people then police forces might have to rethink their use of pepper spray as a non-lethal weapon, says John Mendelson of the Addiction and Pharmacology Research Laboratory at St Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco, who led the mouse research.

In the early nineties, anecdotal reports emerged in the US of people dying after being sprayed by police. “They seemed to die very quickly,” says Mendelson. At post-mortem, many of these people showed signs of having taken cocaine, so Mendelson wondered if capsaicin and cocaine could interact fatally in the body. (New Scientist)

Fort Hood Shooting Suspect Faces 13 Murder Charges

Despair

“Military officials say the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 and wounding 29 in last week's shooting rampage at his post in Texas has been charged in a military court with 13 counts of premeditated murder. The decision makes him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.” (NPR)

As more comes out about Hasan’s past, concern has seemed to center on his contact with a radical Islamist cleric. President Obama has ordered an inquiry into the fact that this intelligence was known but not shared or acted upon. I am more concerned with the evidence, as Daniel Zwerdling reported today on NPR, that there were considerable concerns about his fitness to be a psychiatrist and, indeed, about his mental stability overall, while he was in his psychiatric residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

‘”Put it this way,” says one official familiar with the conversations that took place. “Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your foxhole.”‘

One source, shamefully conceding that no action had been taken on those concerns, described the decision to send Hasan to Fort Hood as being based on the sense that he could do the least harm there.

Some have characterized this as a particularly egregious example of a recent overall military pattern. If someone is unfit for a job, another job is created for him rather than drumming him out of the corps. It is not implausible to suggest that this relates to the climate of overwhelming difficulty with recruitment and retention in the Iraq- and Afghanistan-era military.

The linguistic construction of pedagogical institutions carries with it the engendering of history as such

Brutalist Style

Hours—nay, days—of fun can be had with the University of Chicago’s Make Your Own Academic Sentence widget. You select four theoretical terms from a pull-down menu, it generates a delightfully meaningless string of words. One of mine appears in the title. That’s right: read it and (try not to) weep.

via The New Yorker.

Are nuclear weapons safe in Pakistan?

Only Israel, India & Pakistan. HTTP://RETHINK ...
Image by Cecilia… via Flickr

Seymour Hersh, with his usual uncanny inside access,writes in the New Yorker on the current state of the US-Pakistani alliance in light of concerns about the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. Hersh feels that the Pakistanis’ apparent cooperation is a case of telling the Americans what they think they want to hear in return for coveted American bankrolling. By and large, he says, the Pakistanis distrust and dislike the Americans, fearing that anything they shared with the US in candor would find its way to Indian intelligence. Hersh hopes the Obama regime is not naive enough to believe the lines that the Pakistanis are feeding them, including their assurances that their nuclear arsenal is secure.

The US is stuck propping up the extremely unpopular Zardari regime, garnering the enmity of important segments of Pakistani society. The antipathy within the military is bolstered by the perception that they have been coopted as proxies in the US war on terror, turning their guns on their own people (local villagers, rather than the Taliban, were certainly the main victims of the bloodbath in Swat) from their traditional self-defined role defending their country against India. And it is upon this cooptation that the US’s “Af-Pak” strategy depends.

Hersh reviews evidence that the military has indeed turned far more fundamentalist in the past decade and that there are significant jihadist elements. A number of scenarios in which an internal mutiny could occur, and place a nuclear device in renegade hands, seem plausible. Secret US commando units will almost surely jump into a Pakistani crisis to seize and secure their nuclear weapons, but the outcome is not likely to be welcomed by Pakistan whether it succeeds or fails.

Uncategorized

Get a Great Deal on Oceanfront Property Now

New Ocean May Be Forming In The Desert: “Scientists studying a crevasse in the Ethiopian desert say we may be witnessing the birth of a future ocean. In 2005, a 35-mile-long rift broke open as two parts of the African continent separated. Researchers from several countries have confirmed that the volcanic processes at work beneath the Ethiopian rift are nearly identical to those at the bottom of the world's oceans. They say it is likely the beginning of a new sea. Host Liane Hansen talks with Professor Cynthia Ebinger of the University of Rochester about the event. “(NPR)

(Oh, as Prof. Ebinger points out, you would have to hold on to your landgrab for at least 100,000 years before you get your beachfront.)

Two Deaths

Two deaths this week saddened — and diminished — me. The first life, easier to celebrate, was a public loss, although I, probably like a legion of others, could say that I had know Brother Blue over the decades in which my life centered around Cambridge. The storyteller serves a unique, ancient, and in my opinion irreplaceable function in our society, and Brother Blue was the best.

R.I.P. Brother Blue, 88

[Image 'https://i0.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_uSxPV2yh4iU/RXZMFI0Qz3I/AAAAAAAAAGw/G7-wAqqJItk/s320/Brother+Blue_3941.jpg' cannot be displayed]
Brother Blue by Roger Gordy

The City of Cambridge lost an icon this week: a master storyteller known as Brother Blue.

If you’ve spent time in Harvard Square in the past three decades or so, you’ve probably seen Brother Blue, with a crowd gathered around, telling stories. He stood out of the urban environment in his signature bright blue ensembles.

Brother Blue also told stories in classrooms and jailhouses — anywhere he could find an audience.

He and his wife Ruth produced hours of programming on Cambridge Community Television.

Susan Fleishman is the public access station’s executive director and says the show, “Street Corner Classics with Brother Blue,” was adored.

“Everybody knew who Brother Blue was, and many of the children who are now in their 20s, 30s and 40s remember him from when they were younger,” Fleishman said. ” He was just such an iconic character.”” (WBUR obituary)

 

Brewtality:

The second death had a more personal meaning. A 48 y/o father of two young children died in a medical bed in my hospital this week, of multi-organ failure consequent to his severe alcoholism. He had first come to my unit soon after I began working there five years ago, seeking help with his alcohol addiction. I treated him through more than fifteen episodes since, watching him struggle and slip inexorably downhill in the grip of a gruesome disease, swearing he wanted to stop but utterly unable. Too late, during this last medical stay, desperately ill, he tried unsuccessfully to say goodbye to his children and express his regret at how his life had gone, and how it had impacted theirs. We could not help him and it is difficult to find anything to celebrate about his life. I had this fantasy of marching every other treatment-resistant alcohol-dependent patient down to his room to see what awaited them.

Heil Heidegger!

Heidegger Action Figure

“How many scholarly stakes in the heart will we need before Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), still regarded by some as Germany’s greatest 20th-century philosopher, reaches his final resting place as a prolific, provincial Nazi hack? Overrated in his prime, bizarrely venerated by acolytes even now, the pretentious old Black Forest babbler makes one wonder whether there’s a university-press equivalent of wolfsbane, guaranteed to keep philosophical frauds at a distance.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Going to the Dogs

Moral in Tooth and Claw: Animals are in.’ This might well be called the decade of the animal. Research on animal behavior has never been more vibrant and more revealing of the amazing cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities of a broad range of animals. That is particularly true of research into social behavior—how groups of animals form, how and why individuals live harmoniously together, and the underlying emotional bases for social living. It’s becoming clear that animals have both emotional and moral intelligences.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

And:

The Dogs Have Eyes — And the Nose Knows: “…[W]hat do we really know about the creatures we’ve promoted to full-fledged family members? To judge from the proliferation of books, classes and celebrity trainers offering their own elaborate theories of the beast, the answer is “Not as much as we’d like.” It’s a central irony of our pet-obsessed era: As retail-driven humanization of pets reaches increasingly improbable levels — 56 percent of dog owners report buying Christmas presents for their animals — we’re more eager than ever to understand their essential dogginess.” (Washington Post)

Related?

[Malcolm] Gladwell’s latest book, What the Dog Saw, bundles together his favourite articles from the New Yorker since he joined as a staff writer in 1996. It makes for a handy crash course in the world according to Gladwell: this is the bedrock on which his rise to popularity is built. A warning, though: it’s hard to read the book without the sneaking suspicion that you’re unwittingly taking part in a social experiment he’s masterminded to provide grist for his next book. Times are hard, good ideas are scarce: it may just be true. But more about that later…” (Guardian.UK review)

R.I.P. Claude Lévi-Strauss

[Image 'https://i1.wp.com/graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/11/03/obituaries/03cnd_strauss/popup.jpg' cannot be displayed]

The renowned anthropologist is dead at 100: “His interpretations of North and South American myths were pivotal in changing Western thinking about so-called primitive societies. He began challenging the conventional wisdom about them shortly after beginning his anthropological research in the 1930s — an experience that became the basis of an acclaimed 1955 book, Tristes Tropiques, a sort of anthropological meditation based on his travels in Brazil and elsewhere.

The accepted view at that time held that primitive societies were intellectually unimaginative and temperamentally irrational, basing their approaches to life and religion on the satisfaction of urgent needs for food, clothing and shelter.

Mr. Lévi-Strauss rescued his subjects from this limited perspective. Beginning with the Caduveo and Bororo tribes in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, where he did his first and primary fieldwork, he found among them a dogged quest not just to satisfy material needs but also to understand origins, a sophisticated logic that governed even the most bizarre myths, and an implicit sense of order and design, even among tribes that practiced ruthless warfare.

His work elevated the status of “the savage mind, ” a phrase that became the English title of one of his most forceful surveys, La Pensee Sauvage (1962).

“The thirst for objective knowledge,” he wrote, “is one of the most neglected aspects of the thought of people we call ‘primitive.’ ” (New York Times obituary)

As an anthropology student before I went into psychiatry, I was an ardent follower of Levi-Strauss and La Pensee Sauvage one of my bibles. I don’t think, however, that Levi-Strauss’ contribution was to elucidate the ‘pre-scientific’ logic of the ways tribal people make sense of the world. Our ‘scientific’ ‘objective’ worldview is just another exemplar of the ‘savage’ ordering methodology, it rather seems. For me, this was far more important than the intricacies of structural analysis of any particular myth system, and it informs my “cross-cultural” approach to my work with psychotic patients to this day, if that makes any sense.

Is time out of joint?

[Image 'https://i2.wp.com/www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg20427314.400/mg20427314.400-2_300.jpg' cannot be displayed]

Rethinking relativity: Everything from the concept of the black hole to GPS timing owes a debt to the theory of general relativity, which describes how gravity arises from the geometry of space and time. The sun's gravitational field, for instance, bends starlight passing nearby because its mass is warping the surrounding space-time. This theory has held up to precision tests in the solar system and beyond, and has explained everything from the odd orbit of Mercury to the way pairs of neutron stars perform their pas de deux.

Yet it is still not clear how well general relativity holds up over cosmic scales, at distances much larger than the span of single galaxies. Now the first, tentative hint of a deviation from general relativity has been found. While the evidence is far from watertight, if confirmed by bigger surveys, it may indicate either that Einstein's theory is incomplete, or else that dark energy, the stuff thought to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, is much weirder than we thought”. (New Scientist)

Halloween Music Stream From NPR Music

Cover of "Philip Glass: Dracula"

“NPR Music staffers and station partners observe the holiday by assembling a chilling collection of songs about ghosts, hauntings and otherwise disembodied and discombobulated spirits. More unsettling than pumpkins and more ethereal than zombies, these ghosts are sure to alternately soothe and rattle your nerves as the big day approaches:

“Bach: Toccata in D minor,” Helmut Walcha (DeutscheGrammophon 419 047)

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Bauhaus, 1979-83 Vol. One [The Current]

“The Devil Had a Hold of Me,” Gillian Welch, Hell Among the Yearlings (Acony) [Folk Alley]

“Marie Laveau,” Dr. John, N’walinz — Dis Dat or D’udda (Blue Note) [Jazz 24]

“The Wizard,” Bat for Lashes, Essence [The Current]

“Ralph Vaughan Williams: Job (“Satan’s Dance”),” English Northern Sinfonia (Naxos 8578085)

“Scared,” John Lennon, Walls and Bridges [WFUV]

“John Williams: Devil’s Dance From The Witches of Eastwick,” Gil Shaham, Devil’s Dance: Gil Shaham [WGUC]

“The Vampire,” Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Best of Buffy Sainte-Marie [Folk Alley]

“Little Ghost,” The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan [WXPN]

“The Skeleton in the Closet,” Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, Vol. 2. (Fantasy/Prestige) [Jazz 24]

“Haunted House (Blue Ghost Blues),” Lonnie Johnson with Elmer Snowden, Blues and Ballads (Fantasy/Prestige) [Jazz 24]

“Wasteland,” The Black Heart Procession, Six, [WXPN]

“Crumb: Black Angels (excerpt),” Kronos Quartet

“Rama Lama,” Sons & Daughters, The Repulsion Box [The Current]

“Black Dahlia,” Bob Belden, Black Dahlia, [WDUQ]

“In This World,” Moby, 18 [WFUV]

“I Put a Spell on You,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, I Put A Spell On You: The Best of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

“Camille Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre,” Philharmonia Orchestra, Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals [WGUC]

“(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” Johnny Cash, The Essential Johnny Cash

“The Long Black Veil,” Lefty Frizell, The Best of Lefty Frizzell

“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lightnin’ Hopkins

“The Unquiet Grave,” Jean Ritchie, Jean Ritchie: Ballads From Her Appalachian Family Tradition

“Liszt: At the Grave of Richard Wagner,” Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch 79318)

“Weber: Der Freischutz (Wolf’s Glen Scene, excerpt),” Eugen Jochum, Conductor (DeutscheGrammophon 4593)

“Hoo Doo Lovin'” Steve Ferguson, Mama Usepa [Jazz 24]

“Dance With La Diablesse,” Etienne Charles, Folklore (Etienne Charles) [WDUQ]

“Walking With a Ghost,” The White Stripes, Walking With a Ghost EP [WFUV]

“The Witch,” The Sonics, Nuggets Vol. 4 [The Current]

“Stravinsky: Histoire du Soldat (“Devil’s Dance”),” Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Naxos 8578085)

“The House Is Haunted by the Echo of Your Last Goodbye,” Holly Cole, Holly Cole [Jazz 24]

“Haunt You Down,” Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain [WXPN]

“Gloomy Sunday,”Branford Marsalis Quartet, Eternal, (Marsalis Music) [WDUQ]

“Hellhound on My Trail,” Robert Johnson, Complete Recordings

“Sixteen,” The Heavy, The Heavy [The Current]

“Ghost Town (12″ Mix),” The Specials, Ghost Town EP [WXPN]

“Philip Glass: Dracula (Horrible Tragedy),” Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch 79542)

“Berlioz: Chorus of Damned,” Nat’l Orch of Lille, Slovak Philharmonic Choir (Naxos 8578085)

“Manuel DeFalla: Dance of Terror,” Rachel Barton Pine, Instrument of the Devil: Rachel Barton, Violin [WGUC]

“Angel in the House,” The Story, Angel in the House

“Ghost,” Indigo Girls, 1200 Curfews [WFUV]

“You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” Johnny Thunders, So Alone [WXPN]

“Raven in the Storm,” John Gorka, Land of the Bottom Line [Folk Alley]

“Be My Frankenstein,” Otis Taylor, Truth Is Not Fiction

“Evil Is Alive and Well,” Jakob Dylan, Seeing Things [Folk Alley]

“Death Letter,” Son House, Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions

“St. James Infirmary,” Louis Armstrong, The Essential Louis Armstrong [WDUQ]

“(I Don’t Stand a) Ghost of a Chance,” Billy Eckstine, Imagination

“Philip Glass: Dracula (Dracula Enters),” Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch 79542)

“Kothbiro,” Kenny Werner, Lawn Chair Society [WDUQ]

“Bad Moon Rising,” Rasputina, The Lost and Found, 2nd Edition [WFUV]

“Purcell: When I’m Laid in Earth,” Jessye Norman, The Essential Jessye Norman

“Philip Glass: Dracula (Lucy’s Bitten),” Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch 79542)

“Giacomo Puccini: Witches Sabbath,” Philharmonic of La Scala/Riccardo Muti, Puccini Catalani, Ponchielli Per Orchestra [WGUC]

“Carolina Drama,” The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely

“The Devil Got My Woman,” Skip James, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

“The Ghost of Smokey Joe,” Cab Calloway, New York, 1938-1939, Volume 2 [Jazz 24]”

(NPR)

Charter for Compassion countdown

La parabola del Buon Samaritano Messina Chiesa...

“In February 2008, Karen Armstrong won the TED Prize and called for the creation of a Charter for Compassion to bring together people of different religions and moral codes in a powerful common cause. The Charter launches November 12, accompanied by thousands of self-organized events, services and sermons.

To help prepare the way, today on TED.com we offer six talks from six perspectives. Be ready for a surprise. Compassion is not the soft, fuzzy notion you might expect. Indeed, it might just be the best idea humanity’s ever had.” (TED: Ideas worth spreading)