Friday, November 30, 2012
by: Denise Schreiner
If you park in the Measurement, Inc. lot to go to the Durham Farmers Market, you already know there’s a new set of railings on the main stairs with an entry arch at the bottom. It’s a collaboration between Liberty Arts artist, Jackie MacLeod, and Monkey Bottom Gallery owner and artist, Joe Galas.
Turns out there’s an interesting story behind these railings...
Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod
For years Dale Evarts and his wife Betsy had brought Dale’s mother, Audrey, to the Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings. Audrey had both a hip and knee replacement, so it was hard for her to navigate the stairs, and every week she would say "It would really be good to have a railing there." And every week Dale would say "Yeah, Mom, someday we’ll have one."
After Audrey died unexpectedly last fall, Dale and his sister began talking about it.
And one Saturday this summer when Dale saw the Durham Central Park booth, he went over and said “You know, those stairs over there need a railing and I would like to support that in memory of my mother.”
As it happens, DCP had wanted to install handrails ever since volunteers had built the three stairways down the hill. They’d already enlisted Jackie and Joe to come up with a design, but had only been able to raise half the cost.
When Dale saw the drawings he knew immediately that Audrey would approve. The reason for his enthusiasm was that for twenty years (1965-1985) Audrey had run Eastgate Hardware Store in Chapel Hill (most unusual for a woman at the time), and the recovered metal components in the design reminded Dale of the old hardware from factories and mills in the area. He wrote a check for the balance on the spot.
Now Audrey’s legacy will become a permanent fixture at DCP.
Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod
Photos courtesy of Jackie MacLeod
Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Organic Transit Kickstarter went live today. Check it out here.
Organic Transit's ELF from Ned Phillips on Vimeo.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
These works came to Baltimore as the titles alludes through the efforts of two women, sisters, Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone. These two cultural visionaries, according to the Nasher's website...
began buying art directly out of the Parisian studios of avant-garde artists in 1905. At a time when critics disparaged Matisse, and Pablo Picasso was virtually unknown, the Cones followed their passions and amassed one of the world’s greatest art collections.
Striped Robe, Fruit, and Anemones---Matisse
This week there are two special events in conjunction with the exhibit.
Wednesday, at 6.30pm in the Cameron Village Library, in Raleigh, Juline Chevalier, Curator of Education at the Nasher and Dr. Marianne Wardle Ph.D, Coordinator of Academic Programs at the Nasher, give an "Art with the Experts" talk entitled: “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters.”
Thursday night ticket holders for the exhibit at the Nasher Museum itself, can attend a free wine tasting there at 6pm. Join Noel Sherr, owner of Cave Taureau (The Bull’s Cellar) which opened just last month in downtown Durham, he has personally selected six French wines for the evening.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
"Spectives" is all about looking. Artist Jim Lee says, "It is about looking back, looking forward, looking inward, looking closely, looking from a distance, and looking with respect. Mostly, though, it is about sharing some of the ways I see. It is two dimensional and three dimensional, all in the same space.
The exhibit will feature a wide range of new and old works including a reappearance of the Elusive Rock Nest Monster from the National Cryptozoologic Museum. Lots of new work including some never-seen-before sculptures and images from my "Time at the Tracks" series plus some new nature photographs, mostly from the local beaver marsh or my own yard. Close to home but nonetheless mysterious."
The Carrack Modern Art will host "Spectives" from November 26th and December 6th. Jim Lee will host a gallery talk on Tuesday, December 4th, from 7pm---8.30pm.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
We will give you, dear readers, our take anyway, for what it is worth. The new county courthouse and associated parking, for the record, cost over $119 million dollars.
What does it say about the County's and the City's priorities that they built this while Durham remains in the top five metropolitan areas for income inequality? Is this their solution? Is this a better investment, a higher priority, than in the schools?
Or even than community policing? This is enforcement. What of deterrence?
Real quotes from real tweeters. We love to peak behind the curtain and into the lives of folks we hardly know. Some of these Tweets are PG-13 or even R. All of them keep it real. If you are easily offended, click here.
All spelling is that of original authors.
money is the reason we exist, everybody knows that it's a fact (kiss-kiss)---RJT
If you can make a difference in the life of just one person, that's pretty pathetic.---AG
Girls are attracted to assholes because in elementary school people used to say "if they're mean to you, they like you"---KD
and on the 4th day satan created acne---WD
If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.---GBS
Friday, November 16, 2012
But to Kueber, it is only the beginning. His intention was never for this to be a solo project. In the updated parlance, his words, he wants to "crowdsource the fine grain detail of Durham's history." That means you, people, the site is set-up to be contributory. Kueber has given us our own platform to write Durham's history.
Photo credit BWPW photography.
Kueber rewrote his original blogger data aggregator, Endangered Durham, a blogspot like this one, into a custom search site. Open Durham is designed and engineered so that people can create content, write the entry of their own house, upload photos of their street, document the oral history of their neighborhood.
"Untold Durham" is a different portion of the overarching project, perhaps an attempt to prod Durham to share as much of the good dirt as it has. The Clarion Content was privileged to able to watch Gary Kueber deliver "Untold Durham" at the Carolina Theater. "Untold Durham" is a two-hour multimedia presentation with fabulous photographs, musical recordings, oral history testimonies and Kueber narrating the whole thing for our benefit.
He weaves an interesting web. In an interview about ten days after the presentation, which even at $35 a ticket nearly packed the house, Kueber told the Clarion Content that it was his goal (and he succeeded wildly) to tell the unconventional narrative of Durham in his "Untold Durham" presentation. He said and we are paraphrasing here, that he did not believe in the traditional dichotomies often presented about the past, that things were either great or terrible.
He didn't reject the conventional narrative. It had a place as part of the panoply of viewpoints that were needed to understand and begin to picture the whole. Interestingly, "Durham: A Self-Portrait", a PBS-Wikipedia-esque history of Durham had just aired at MotorCo. In the Clarion Content's opinion this worthy documentary is a well-constructed, if staid and largely uncontroversial, view of Durham's history.
Kueber was shooting for something else. In our interview, he noted it is important to avoid simplistic constructs of the past bad/good, terrific/awful. People, stories and time are more complicated than that, and to construct the past in that way detrimentally influences our understanding and interpretation of the present.
He is not playing for small stakes either. He hopes to draw his audience, you, us and all of Durham into an intimate, safe place of joy where from our love of certain parts of our city's history and past we can contemplate the worst parts of it, namely, segregation. The Clarion Content was reminded of Neal Stephenson's and Avi Halaby's Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pod. You have to face your history to face it down.
It started with a proverbial kick in the eggs. Kueber is, in fact, a doctor of medicine, first. He was helping Preservation Durham. Specifically, he was working to save a desolated, but beautiful, old, 3,000 sq.ft. house on Angier Avenue from destruction. One day, after a report that some kids had been seen playing on the porch of the old place, the City of Durham showed up, unannounced, no warning, and tore it down.
It was era when Durham was tearing down a lot of old buildings, houses and history were disappearing in what echoed the "urban renewal" disasters of the 1960's and 70's. Kueber, aware even then of how these demolitions were tied into shame and embarrassment, how they were attempts to erase memory and failure, was desperate to help save what history he could.
He would later come to learn as a developer that to tear down to create a blank slate for development rarely works in urban environments. The houses and buildings, the architecture and the spaces are the anchors to development and renewal. Projects start with economic viability.
At the time, he was mostly frustrated and looking for an outlet to do something. He was bothered by the "randomness of application" of the city codes and strictures when it came to the buildings it wanted to rid itself of.2 He wrote a letter to the Durham Herald-Sun. The letter was republished as Op-Ed piece.
The positive public response to his frustration inspired him. He began writing Endangered Durham under the pseudonym Sven Rylesdorn. When Ray Gronburg tracked him down, he stepped out from behind the curtain. The rest is history and Kueber's mission to record it.3
His "Untold Durham" is peppered with audio clips of older Durham citizens reminiscing about everything from the hot night spots to music, food and more. He warned the crowd that he was bringing the unconventional narrative. He started all the back when they were building the first road from Hillsborough to Raleigh and in his words, the area that would become Durham was a series of 19th century truck stops – the most notorious of which was Pratt’s Tavern. Along the way we heard lots of the seedy side of the story.
Kueber would periodically update the crowd on the tally of taverns to churches in town. The saloons held the edge four to two in 1858. By 1887 it was nine to nine, but the urge to be a little more establishment never undermined Durham's original gloss, "A Roaring Old Place."
The Clarion Content's manic note taking and Kueber's encyclopedic knowledge of Durham history could make this a 10,000 word piece. We will spare you. All we can say is you must see the presentation. You learn all of the city slogans Durham ever had, you get to hear the story of the 1934 textile strike and a tent city. You learn about Durham neighborhoods called Edgemont and Monkey Bottom. You hear tales of Durham speakeasies and dancing salons, our Greek diner culture and the drive-in burger joint that was where Whole Foods is today... and more, and more and more.
The Clarion Content asked Kueber when the next performance of "Untold Durham" will be, but it hasn't been scheduled. We encouraged Kueber that many, many more Durham citizens want to see this fascinating and nuanced view of our history. We told him somebody4 needs to film the next time he gives his presentation.
The audience adored "Untold Durham." At the Carolina Theater we heard two little old ladies, tittering at intermission about whether they should be amused or offended by all the dirt Kueber was dishing on Durham. But he wrapped it up perfectly, methodology merging with message, closing with a couple of quotes from Durham citizens.
Durham is a place where you can be who you are, but not be defined by it.
Durham, we don't have mountains, we don't have a river, we just have each other and that makes us dedicated to building a livable city.
1The Clarion Content makes frequent use of Open Durham's photos of Durham's days gone-by.
2This randomness of application of City Codes is still a problem today.
3A summary and an oversimplification to be sure.
4The Clarion Content would love to...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
From the Clarion Content's observations, all this and more were true. It is an all-in-one, do-it-yourselfers club with every tool that you could imagine. For one reasonable membership fee of $83.25/month, you can use it all.
Laser cutters, plasma cutters, a wood shop, welding, a C & C plasma table, a forge, a vacuum former, a paint spray area, an electronics lab, a metal and machine shop, lathes, routers, every basic hand tool you can imagine, a conference room you can use, a photobooth, a kitchen where members built the cabinets themselves (with the on-site equipment), and a high performance computer lab where each of the twenty plus machines is loaded with anywhere from $25k northward worth of design and engineering software.
To say is an inventors paradise is hardly overstatement.1
The Clarion Content and our friend, filmmaker and correspondent, Ned Phillips, were given a wonderful, free tour of TechShop Raleigh/Durham last month. The magnificent madcap list of machines and stuff we rattled off above is hardly comprehensive, some of what our generous and patient guide was saying simply washed over us in waves of data.
We did note that there are only six TechShops in America and one of them is
TechShop offers classes (in fact, mandates classes for new users) on all of its machines and equipment. Word is, if you know what you are doing, it is not hard to get certified to use the machines, and if you are a beginner, it is a great place to learn.
We were told that there is a hardcore cadre of inventors who use TechShop to make prototypes. We met and will have a longer feature on one such inventor, Luis Freeman, owner and president of Plastibot, a 3-D printer company. Freeman is an engineer by trade, in person he is a creator, a designer, and a teacher. It was while we were filming Plastibot's 3-D printers that we heard about TechShop. Plastibot built the acrylic cases for their printers at TechShop.2
There are, according to our Dream Consultant, also a bevy of tinkerers, hobbyists, folks dabbling beyond their day job, as well as a number of younger members who use TechShop. Overall current membership numbers are between 350 and 400 total. The hours of operation are extensive, Mon-Fri 10am to midnight and Sat-Sun, 10am-10pm, makes it feel like you can go in, almost any time, seven days a week, ninety-four glorious hours of machine and tool heaven.3
The Clarion Content's editor, given books before blocks as a child, hasn't mastered tools more complicated than the screwdriver and the hammer. But for those of you who have, TechShop will blow your mind. It is an unbelievable community resource.
They are holding an open house all day today, Saturday, November 10th. And if you can't make it today, free tours are available any time TechShop is open.
1Some members use TechShop as their business address, shipping and receiving packages here, holding meetings in the conference room.
2We also noted, smart folks abound, that immediately adjacent to TechShop's facility was the Roth Brewing Company making and selling "Beer for the Masses." It looked like a popular watering hole for the local creative talent.
3TechShop was remarkably clean and well-maintained, would even go so far as to say it was nearly pristine.
In downtown Durham, a small group of highly skilled professionals are quietly building the future. Across the plaza from Major the Bull, behind a deep green facade, is an old furniture showroom. Inside there are vehicle schematics and diagrams on the walls. White marker boards are colored with carefully laid out business plans and there’s a workshop area with enough tools to turn on any grease monkey. The leftover furniture has been used to make tables and workspaces, recycling what was once forgotten into something practical and useful. The paint peeling from the immaculate ceiling and the vast spaciousness of the interior remind me of the Ghostbusters firehouse, historic with a touch of shabby-chic.
Organic Transit HQ, #309 East Chapel Hill St, Durham, photo by Ned Phillips
pictured here, Alix Bowman, Director of Strategy, photo by Ned Phillips
This is home of Organic Transit and they are taking their own crack at saving the world. Organic Transit stands on the literal cutting edge of personal transportation; their vehicles are velomobiles with a solar powered battery, filling the much-needed gap between automobiles and bicycles and potentially revolutionizing the way we get around our urban environment. And while Organic Transit seems to have arrived at just the right moment, the road here has been years in the making.
For CEO Rob Cotter, the Organic Transit seed was planted back in the early 1980s in southern California, when Cotter was working with the International Human Powered Vehicle Association. As Vice President of the land division, he interacted with many of the top minds and designs in the field, witnessing single rider vehicles traveling at highway speeds; 55 and 65 mph. Aside from working with BMW and Porsche, he put on the first solar car race in the United States, lectured at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, acted as a consultant for bike sharing in New York City and served as creative director for an international multimedia company, which he credits with teaching him the marketing and public relations side of things. And while it’s been a long journey to Organic Transit, Cotter hasn’t forgotten any of it--- posters and early designs from his SoCal days decorate his Durham headquarters.
The concept of a high tech but efficient, cool but inexpensive vehicle that has the ability to be mass-produced is something Cotter has been working on for quite a while. After years of exchanging designs and ideas with colleagues on the west coast, Organic Transit built their first prototype, called the ELF, in 2010. The exteriors are TrylonTM, a composite of acrylics and a version of ABS plastic. The molds for the plastic body were created at the inventors’ D-I-Y hub, TechShop. The body panels are now being locally manufactured in Eastern North Carolina. The interior of the ELF is almost entirely off the shelf bicycle parts, save the specially designed frame and assembly parts, four of which are in the patent process, with another four or five heading that direction.
CEO Rob Cotter, photo by Ned Phillips
Cotter describes the design of the ELF as closer to an aircraft than an automobile. Decreasing air drag, streamlining and smoothing of components are just some of the concepts applied in the ELF’s design. The riders have the choice to pedal their own way, or use the solar energy stored in the battery pack, which can carry a rider up to 30 miles. The prototype contains a CVT, or continuously variable transmission, a technology used in windmills that provides easy and efficient gear shifting. Current design allows the ELF to carry 350lbs plus the rider. As to its other advantages over a standard bicycle, you have weather protection, lights, visibility on the road, power to get up hills and you can’t fall over and skin your knee.
pictured here and above, Brent Alexander, Logistics team, photos by Ned Phillips
The company already has other designs in development, including a cargo model called the TruckIt, which can carry up to 800 lbs plus the rider, as well as a sleek sport coupe body style. The idea is that eventually, all these body styles will be interchangeable, as well as having customizable interiors, doors, floors and shelves. Organic Transit is already using materials that will be used in future auto production and while the ELF’s exteriors are almost 80% recyclable, the company is moving towards using bioplastics, bamboo, hemp and seagrass. In addition, Cotter has employed local mobile application designers to create apps for speed and calorie monitoring and hopes to hire 35 more people to work in green jobs within the next nine months.
As a community that embraces local business, entrepreneurship and the importance of self-sustenance, Durham is an ideal home for Organic Transit. Here, visionaries such as Cotter and crew were able to get going through the Bull City Startup Stampede and draw on the ever-expanding network of resources in the Triangle. Organic Transit has already built working relationships with and gained the support of Alliance Architecture and Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment, two Durham institutions that share a similar view for the future.
And that is a vision of clean efficiency, Cotter says his team has a moral imperative to work hard and fast. Few things are polluting our Earth as quickly and as badly as our transit structure. At stake are all sorts of issues from personal health to climate change. It’s also financial: having thousands of dollars in your pocket at the end of the year versus handing your money over to large oil companies with their own selfish interests. People are moving back into cities and need new transportation solutions. Gas is expensive. Parking takes up too much space. Traffic is inefficient. Organic Transit takes the position that with human power and solar power, we can do what we need to do, within a reasonable limit.
Organic Transit already has 400 international pre-orders for the ELF, from places as far away as New Zealand. Within the next month, expect to see the first Beta wave of vehicles on the streets of Durham. For Organic Transit, Rob Cotter dreams of a “depot” model- franchised, decentralized, manufacturing cafes in urban downtowns. A community place, where you can have a coffee and visit with neighbors as your vehicle is assembled. It then rolls right out the front door and into the world. Standing in the downtown headquarters, I feel it happening. Children peek through the large windows excitedly at the drawings and prototypes. People stop to take photographs of the recycled furniture sign. Friends pop in to say hello and offer encouragement. I imagine an espresso machine over by the lounge area. Rob tells me they will be having a party soon, to celebrate the launch, here in the workspace. All of a sudden it feels like the future is now.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The Clarion Content was delighted that Ms. Howard selected our publisher, Aaron Mandel, to be the subject of her first profile. A far more deserving figure in the Durham arts scene is the subject of her second piece of the series, which Ms. Howard has generously agreed to co-publish on the Clarion Content.
The Creative Leaders of Durham Series: Laura Ritchie of The Carrack Modern Art
by: Catherine Howard
Laura Ritchie, a vital and vibrant cog in the Durham art community, is the co-founder/director of The Carrack Modern Art. A graduate of UNC Chapel-Hill, she teamed up with John Wendelbo in 2011 to pursue a vision of a gallery that served the artists and community rather than commercial purposes.
The Carrack has been empowering local Durham-based artists for over a year. Answering artists' cries for space rather than paid memberships or partial commissions, The Carrack rotates exhibitions with artists in all media every 10 days in their zero-commission art space. With this innovative model, The Carrack has received an upswell of support for its mission to forge productive cultural and socio-economic ties within the Durham community.
Laura and I sat down to catch up (The Carrack exhibited my Veil Tease series last year) and chat about the ways she has witnessed the arts become an integral component of Durham's economic revitalization.
Laura Richie, the curator and co-owner of The Carrack
CJH: So! How have you seen how Durham's art scene has shifted since The Carrack started and now?
LR: I can only speak about Durham from my experiences over the past two years, which may be a narrow viewpoint, but in terms of downtown, specifically, things have changed quite substantially in the past two years.
Mostly, people are thinking about "art spaces" differently.
The Carrack is a gallery - a traditional space with a non-traditional model. Then there's the [Durham] Storefront Project - non-traditional spaces with a non-traditional model. Then there's dtownMARKET - non-traditional space, non-traditional work, and a non-traditional model.
People are also thinking about "art" in a different way.
There are performances like Stacey Kirby's VALIDnation, and then you have music performances, poetry readings... the concept of "art" seems to be broadening. It seems to be very malleable in this present moment. There's a whole different crowd of people - age, race, socioeconomic background - that traditionally participate in and enjoy each of these different art forms. Here in downtown Durham, art brings all these circles together in the same place.
from the exhibition "A sense of place" by Michelle Gonzalez-Green
from a "VALIDnation" performance by Stacey Kirby
CJH: It sounds to me like "art" is reflective of the community.
LR: And vice versa. The Carrack was built in response a demand we recognized from this community's artists. "Free space? YES! Gimmespacegimmespacegimmespace!"
I don't think that artists in this community feel pressured to make work solely for a traditionally commercial market, and that is a great thing. This idea of "community" is at the forefront of everyone's process. Everyone is so proud of being from Durham, to be a part of Durham's narrative, and that shows up in their work.
Holly Johnson, from Happymess Art Studio, hosts an art event at The Carrack for Durham kids
CJH: Do you feel like the art community is reaching out actively into the wider community in Durham?
LR: I don't think there is a clear boundary of where the "art" community ends and the "broader" community begins because everyone seems to be thinking of "art" as the term for the culture of Durham. "Art" and "culture" are synonymous here.
I do think enrichment is a goal - that all the artists want to better Durham as a whole.
CJH: I think that the biggest difference I have seen between Durham and a lot of other "art cities" is that Durham's art scene does not seem to be commercially driven.
LR: There is both physical and intellectual space here, and all the networks have not already been established. In some ways, there have been too many new businesses and new projects, but that's a great problem to have - too many people that have the ambition to create something that they haven't seen in this community before. The Carrack couldn't have existed in any other time or place in the way that it does.
We are making the formula, the history NOW for how the art community works here [in Durham].
The community is willing to financially support all these independent art projects and new businesses, and by doing that locally, those artists are producing work within the community, which then brings interest, visitors, and money back to Durham. It's a cycle of the community investing in itself via the arts.
Photo credit Scenes from my Lunch Hour
CJH: Thanks so much to Laura for her insights into the role the arts can play as an investment in community.
Just a reminder that The Carrack Modern Art is located at #111 West Parrish Street in the heart of Downtown Durham. Stop by regularly and keep an eye on their calendar! You can also “Like” them on Facebook to get updates there. Also, please consider supporting The Carrack efforts by becoming a Sustainer.
The whole event will be a fundraiser for KidZNotes, the Durham-based musical education non-profit organization that fights poverty and encourages positive decision making by instructing and engaging children in classical orchestral music.
Friday, the event will continue in conjunction with the rest of the Durham Art Walk festivities.
Remember you can always take the free Bull City Connector bus to Golden Belt and the Cordoba Center for the Arts.
Friday, November 09, 2012
First Edition, Cady Childs' line, had its true premiere at the DTown ReFASHIONED show back in July. Her inspiration behind the styling and creations of this shoot were the hauntingly heartbreaking faces, silhouettes, and wardrobes of the silent film stars of the 1920s, their sensual fabrics contrasted with stark, harsh lines, perfect hair waves, and heartshaped lips. Their overly expressive faces showing every action and happening twice as dramatically as we would in film now makes for an air of incidental glam that was best captured in that time, when the actors only had their faces and motions to truly tell the story between quote captions. But instead of implying their sensuality and femininity meant needing a man to come to the rescue, we wanted our damsels to flip the script, and escape from distress on their own accord.
Thanks to The Real Laww for being our DURM styled bandit, HT Jewelry for the accessories, and of course, the eye behind the lens that makes all our visions come together, the photographer, Jessi Blakely of Jessica Arden Photography.
Anyway, it is sold out, so maybe that was the thinking. But, trust us, you want to know about Macklemore. The last time a hip-hop artist so instantaneously struck a chord with our editor, was when yours truly borrowed our friend Natasha's truck to run a lunchtime errand in the mid-90's. Put it in gear, pushed in the tape that was hanging halfway out of the cassette deck and suddenly, Lauren Hill, Wyclef, Pras and the Fugees, were "Killing me Softly."
That is pantheon level. But we have no taste for hyperbole. We are keeping it on the real. The other day, your editor tried to calculate how many days after the tragic, all too early, passing of Adam Yauch, we heard about Macklemore. It seemed less than coincidental that as one passed out of our lives, the other appeared.
This is the most sensitive song we have ever heard a hip-hop artist create about homosexuality. It is a must listen. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's entire album, "The Heist" can be heard here. Amazing, A+ quality, grooves.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
The Clarion Content is a dedicated and loyal follower of Nate Silver's statistical analysis of elections in his blog the 538.1 Long time readers find great irony in this, because as a baseball analyst the Clarion Content's editor is likely to be the first one jumping up and down screaming if Mike Trout somehow steals Miguel Cabrerra's Most Valuable Player Award. Silver, the creator of PECOTA, is renown in baseball circles as a statistical guru only slightly below Bill James on pantheon.
Statistics aren't everything. Math isn't religion. It is a language, descriptive, but limited by its own conceits and structures.2
The problem is that the average moron in the media doesn't speak math. In 2008, Silver correctly predicted the Obama vs. McCain results in 49 of 50 states. He predicted every Senate race correctly. In 2010, he did pretty well too, nailing 36 out of 37 gubernatorial races, although missing on some individual House and Senate races.
This year, using his rigorous statistical analysis and as many polls as he can lay hands on, he has been predicting an Obama victory for some time. His model did show Romney making gains after the first debate, but it was from getting beat handily in the Electoral College to getting beat barely. In the weeks since, the model has drifted back up to an 86% chance of Obama winning, with the two most likely outcomes being the President gets 300 electoral votes, rated a 14% chance, and the President gets 330 electoral votes, rated a 17% chance.
Rocket scientists, like MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, laughably conflate polling and statistics to understand the President and Romney each have a 50% chance of winning. Ah, the dim.3
In fact, Silver predicts that Obama will win only 50.6% of the popular vote. But as those of you who are old enough to remember the 2000 Presidential Election know, the popular vote is not the deciding factor for presidential elections in the good ol' U.S. of A. We have this rigamorole known as the Electoral College.4
Silver has done the legwork and the math. He is convinced Obama is going to win. One reason he cited as an example on the 538, in twenty-two polls of swing states Friday, not national polls, individual state polls, Obama led in nineteen, two showed a tie and Romney led in one. This is not what one would call a dead heat, regardless of the national aggregate numbers.
Silver is not alone in his quantitative analysis, Deadspin notes, "the criminally underrated Princeton Election Consortium... [which] nailed the electoral vote count in 2004, and missed it in 2008 by just one... [forecasts] Obama's re-election chances at 98%."
Vote! The Clarion Content's article is not a reason, not to vote. It is about math and bias. Please, please, please go vote! North Carolina is going to be razor close for the distribution of its electoral college votes. There are also a bevy of important state races which will effect everything from schools and state taxes, to energy policy and the environment.5
1The 538 sadly now belongs to the New York Times, meaning we can read it no more than ten times per month.
2Show us past the Godel theorem, "For every consistent formalization of arithmetic, there exist arithmetic truths that are not provable within that formal system." And furthermore, almost all statisticians concede, small sample sizes can yield lots of surprising results, often called "noise." See the Central Limit Theorem.
3Deadspin notes in its article about Silver, just like math class in high school, some of the bullies use Silver's ostensible nerdiness and high-pitched voice to accuse him of one of their greatest sins, homosexuality. Of course, if he is smart and effeminate, he must be queer. Ahhhh, the sophistication of the narrative that comes from certain parts of the Right Wing.
4Interestingly, one might wonder if this will bring the Republicans behind a proportional distribution of states' electoral college votes, rather the winner take all model used everywhere but Maine and Nebraska.
4The era of fracking in North Carolina is about to begin.
Saturday, November 03, 2012
These days, having returned from South Africa to North Carolina, she has decamped to Raleigh, where she is planning further world travels. Her sojourn to South Africa earlier this year produced, among many things, a fascinating sketchbook entitled, "A Warm Space to Disappear." Ms. Howard received scads of accolades for this 84 page, hard bound, visual journal documenting her artist residency in in Cape Town, S.A. So this year she is embarking on what she has titled 13x13x13 for 2013, a thirteen country, thirteen sketchbooks project to connect people through art. Just today, she said she had confirmed her residency in Buenos Aires.
With all that exciting news in the hopper, and please do click through on the links, we thought we'd dip into the back catalog for collaboration we did with Catherine this Summer. These amazing shots by Beth Mandel of BWPW Photography, featuring Clarion Content Creative Director and Durham bon vivant, Cady Childs, are from Ms. Howard's Courting Love and Violence.
In Ms. Howard's own words,
"Courting Love & Violence" originally began as a series of paintings for three narrow high windows in a Durham loft residence, and then, expanded into a camouflage inspired scroll and convertible dress.
This series explores the relationship between idealized sexuality and aggression. How do we balance our desires to blend in a hyper-sexualized world that dehumanizes and objectifies bodies without internalizing the detrimental, self-destructive facets? Using images of 1940's pin-ups and South African police squads controlling riots, these silhouetted characters create ambiguous narratives about culturally acceptable sexual violation.
All photographed in Durham by BWPW Photography
Modeled by Cady Childs
See even more photos here of Catherine Howard's "Courting Love & Violence," a Clarion Content production, photographed BWPW Photography.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Real quotes from real tweeters. We love to peak behind the curtain and into the lives of folks we hardly know. Some of these Tweets are PG-13 or even R. All of them keep it real. Easily offended, click here.
All spelling is that of original authors.
As your bestfriend I vow to always be your lesbian lover when you are getting hit on by a ugly ass creep.---SH
It's crazy how $50 used to be SO MUCH money when you're a kid and now it's just a tank of gas!---RL
when my parents tell me im a bad person...i know im not. im a good person. i know it.---LE
I like my men how I like my wine. 12 years old and locked in a basement #CougarProblems #TooFar? #StillFunny---QS
i love better than i dress.---LM
I think girls can't tell if I am flirting or if I am a retarded person... Probably works in my benefit somehow---JD