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Today NPR is streaming the new Youth Lagoon album and tomorrow he does on tour, just going to keep it short, what a great record, enjoy.

TRACKLIST
Through Mind and Back
Mute
Attic Doctor
The Bath
Pelican Man
Dropla
Sleep Paralysis
Third Dystopia
Raspberry Cane
Daisyphobia

TOUR DATES
02-26 Missoula, MT – Badlander
02-27 Bozeman, MT – Filling Station
02-28 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
03-01 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
03-06 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
03-13-16 Austin, TX – SXSW
03-22 Boise, ID – Treefort Music Fest
04-12 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-19 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-21 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
04-22 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
04-24 Austin, TX – Mohawk
04-25 Dallas, TX – The Loft
04-26 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
04-27 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
04-28 Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree
04-30 Orlando, FL – The Social
05-01 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
05-02 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
05-03 Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
05-04 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
05-07 Northampton, MA – Pearl St.
05-10 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
05-11 Columbia, MD – Sweet Life Festival
05-13 Toronto, Ontario – Great Hall
05-14 Columbus, OH – A&R Bar
05-15 Chicago, IL – Metro
05-16 Madison, WI – Majestic Theater
05-17 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line
05-22 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
05-23 Vancouver, British Columbia – Venue
05-24 Gorge, WA – Sasquatch! Fest
06-05 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center *
* with the National

Youth Lagoon’s second album, Wondrous Bughouse, is one of the most arresting headphone records you’ll hear this year. Trevor Powers, the band’s sole member, layers strange but alluring synth textures under quirky melodies and simple pop beats, in the process creating an expansive and endlessly engrossing world of sonic curiosities.

As with Youth Lagoon’s 2011 debut, The Year of Hibernation, the songs on Wondrous Bughouse are moody but not melancholy. Thematically, Powers finds himself in an existential spiral, as he asks grand questions about mortality, the spiritual world and his own mental state — which he describes as “hyperactive.” Weighty subjects ripe for pensive introspection, sure, but the music is uplifting, if a bit dysphoric, like an awkward hug for all that is light and beautiful.

Powers, who says he controls his busy mind with music, offers no illuminating epiphanies or profound discoveries on Wondrous Bughouse, out March 5; he says he hasn’t had any. But the songs allow him to assume the identity of Youth Lagoon and sort through all the emotional and mental baggage he, like so many, carries with him everywhere. The album opens a window into our odd little world, with the understanding that life is a baffling mystery, but also a wonderful ride.

via NPR

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The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)
SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

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Welcome to the first in a new series of interviews called “How I Work”. These interviews revolve around how thinkers and creators in the Web world design, code, and create. The goal is not to get into the specific nuances of their craft (as that information already exists online), but rather step back and learn a bit about their habits, philosophies, and workflow for producing great work.

Meet Doug Crockford

First up is Douglas Crockford who believes JavaScript might just be the most elegant language ever. Learn why he thinks you should study the history of computer science, the value of reading your code in front of other people, and that jQuery really is a good thing.

Douglas Crockford is known as The JavaScript Guy. He’s famous not only for his O’Reilly book JavaScript: The Good Parts but even more so as the visionary behind the JSON data format as well as the JSLint tool. He was featured in the book Coders at Work for his contributions and philosophies on what JavaScript got right, and what it didn’t.

As a native of Southern California, Doug has the build of a surfer; lean and tall with white hair and a beard. A veteran of Silicon Valley, he’s worked at Atari Labs, founded and worked at numerous software start-ups, was head of technology at Lucas Films and now has the enviable job of being a JavaScript evangelist at Yahoo!.

Douglas Crockford
Image credits go to Eric Miraglia.

Self-taught (as many of the greats are), he says his goal is simply to get more people coding in JavaScript, or any language for that matter. While his day job may be as a JavaScript evangelist, speaking with Doug you get the sense he really is an evangelist for programming in general.

Below is a conversation that took place in Bozeman, Montana prior to a talk at Montana State University. Doug freely shared his thoughts on great programmers, user empathy, and how JSON restored his faith in humanity.

Why do you feel programmers should study the history of Computer Science?

Well, first semester of physics is a history class. You study Galileo and Newton and all their contributions to the field and that gives us the overall view of physics. It’s a really nice place to start.

I wish CS would do that. It doesn’t seem to have enough value in its history and it’s a really amazing history that’s completely neglected. It’s rarely that the best idea won. So, we’ve taken different paths over the years and maybe haven’t realized why.

Ironically, despite the rate of change in technology, we see in the story of software that it takes a generation to retire or die off before we have a critical mass of bright young minds to embrace new ideas.

I think if people were more aware of their history, they could see these patterns more easily.

What were the traits of the weak programmers you’ve seen over your career?

That’s an easy one—lack of curiosity. They were so satisfied with the work that they were doing was good enough (without an understanding of what ‘good’ was) that they didn’t push themselves.

I’m much more impressed with people that are always learning. The brilliant programmers I’ve been around are always learning.

You see so many people get into one language and spend their entire career in that language, and as a result aren’t that great as programmers.

Do you feel that the pain a programmer goes through in learning a language contributes to this unhealthy attachment to using only one language?

My advice to programmers to avoid this trap is to learn lots of different languages. We’re in sort of a language renaissance right now and there are a ton of brilliant languages to learn from.

To learn new languages takes nights and weekends outside of work, and that’s a commitment. The great programmers are the people that are constantly picking a project and diving into it, learning a language that way.

In Coders at Work, you stress the importance of doing code readings with teams. Why do you feel it’s important to present your code in front of other people?

Well, over the years I noticed that there are some terrific programmers out there that are completely content to sit in their cave all day long writing brilliant code. But they don’t interact much with their team, which means it’s a lost opportunity for mentoring other members.

As you know, a lot of coders aren’t the most socially adept animals either.

So, my idea with code reading sessions is to provide a forum where people can come together and read for each other to get them out of their caves. The masters read for the beginners, and vice versa, as a team-building exercise.

The trick for success is to set up rules ahead of time so that nobody is going to get spanked and everyone is respectful in their feedback. It has to be a good learning experience for everyone. You have to be careful with a dysfunctional team, because it can quickly tear apart the group. But I always call the game before it gets that far.

The rules are that it’s about improving the quality of the code that we’re all responsible for, improving the quality of our team, and improving our individual capabilities.

Some people see this as a terrible time sink. Yet, I’ve found by doing this exercise, bugs are caught way ahead of time and you can prevent a team member from going off the tracks. But again, that’s not the goal, it’s about team building.

Over time the masters help pull up the beginners and the overall output from the team gets better.

Are programmers getting better at user empathy?

The best experience I had with empathy was working in marketing support. There were times I would go out into the field and hold hands with the customers and see the consequences firsthand of some of the crap we were delivering to them.

I was shocked when I moved into systems programming and how the programmers actually held the customer in contempt.

I think every programmer should work in customer support for the product they’re delivering.

It’s another case of over-specialization. “I just write the code,” is the response you get and the programmers don’t see it as a chance to improve peoples’ lives.

How much of a language do you need to know?

Virtually every programming language is too big. Language standards have difficulty removing unnecessary features but as users we can choose not to use it.

I would say you can do 100% with knowing 50% of the language.

The language that taught me that lesson the most was JavaScript, because it has more bad parts than good parts. It gave me a very strong motivation for figuring out what are the good parts and what are the bad parts, and what the criteria is for deciding what’s in or out.

And the good parts are just so good. Be sure to watch Doug’s Google Tech talk titled “JavaScript: The Good Parts.”

What approaches would you say a master has versus a beginner?

When I was a journeyman, I was a maximilist. I tried to use the whole language. While I don’t know if I would call myself a master now, I’m certainly a minimalist. I’ve tried to get good at using as little of the language as possible.

I place a lot of value in simplicity and minimalism.

What are your thoughts on jQuery? Some JS enthusiasts feel like it’s letting people off the hook from truly learning JS.

There is some really clever stuff in jQuery and I think John Resig did some very good work there.

I do have a problem with anybody doing anything without understanding what they’re doing. I’m not going to fault jQuery for attracting those sorts of people.

But I do think there are some other AJAX libraries that maybe doing a better job that aren’t quite as accessible. However, I think there is a place for all of these things.

When you were developing JSON was it tough to pull back and not put too much into it?

My design criteria were three things: minimal, contextual, and a subset of JavaScript.

The last constraint was to keep us from going off the rails and inventing new stuff. We had to only use stuff that was in JavaScript, which meant that our unicode handling wasn’t quite right because JS isn’t quite right, which was disappointing. We don’t have proper support for dates because JS didn’t have it. But we can work around both of these.

But it also meant that when somebody proposed, “Hey we should do this crazy thing” we could be like “Nope”. So, we had a really easy criteria for stopping extra features from being added.

One interesting story about leaving things out: as we got closer to releasing JSON I decided to take out the ability to do comments. When translating JSON into other languages, often times the commenting piece was the most complicated part. By taking the commenting out we reduced the complexity of the parsers by half—everything else was just too simple.

One of the best features of JSON is that it’s stable. If your program works now, it will work forever, and that is an attractive thing.

I still get notes from people saying they’ve got great ideas for the next version. But there isn’t going to be a next version. I always say you’re free to invent a new standard and promote it as much as you like.

How did JSON get adopted?

You know, the adoption of JSON sort of restored my faith in humanity because it was a good idea that won out, only because it was a good idea.

It was a case where there were no slick marketing campaigns. In 2001, I started working on it as a way to tie the browsers to the server. At the time, everyone thought XML had to be used or they’d say “that’s a great idea but JSON isn’t a standard”. So, I bought json.org, made a logo, threw up a Web page and it sat out on the Web for three years.

In the meantime, AJAX happened and when it became the way for writing applications JSON was there. There was counter promotion from the XML community, of course.

But when I arrived at Yahoo! some kids at the company started thinking it was okay to start shipping JSON API’s through Web services. And developers found the apps got faster and were easier to write.

It sort of took off from there—no slick campaigns. So a good idea based on simplicity won out for once.

Watch Doug Crockford At Google Speaking On “JavaScript: The Good Parts”

In this presentation from Google Tech Talks, Doug goes over the ideas behind his landmark book, JavaScript: The Good Parts, and dives into the areas of what JavaScript got right and what it didn’t. Learn about the history and common roadblocks programmers run into when developing with this language.

Learn About The JSON Saga

In this video, Doug tells the interesting tale of how JSON was discovered, and sheds some light on how it became a major standard for describing data in an interesting turn of events.

(jvb) (il)

© Jacob Cook for Smashing Magazine, 2012.

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TEDxBozeman-Betsy Quammen-The Many Gods of Planet Earth

This talk examines connections between religions, cultures and environmental ethics. This idea of caring for species, rivers and landscapes is embedded in the world's many faiths and traditions. Gaines Quammen and the organization she founded, The Tributary Fund, explores world cultures to identify, reinforce and put into action values and practices that safeguard our species and planet. I order to further conservation, Gaines Quammen attests, we must understand the beliefs of communities that have a direct impact on threatened wildlife, in order to encourage empathy and bestow responsibility. Betsy founded The Tributary Fund after visiting the Eg-Uur watershed and Dayan Derkh Monastery ruins in 2002 and falling in love with the rivers, landscapes and people of Mongolia. Betsy has a Master's of Science from University of Montana in Environmental Studies and is a PhD candidate at Montana State University in Religion and Environmental History. She lived in Kenya and worked for Swara (the magazine of the East African Wildlife Society) and has served on the national board of directors for the Sierra Club and for American Wildlands. Over the years, she's worked with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Montana State University's Center for Native American Studies and Wallace Stegner Chair, and many other conservation groups. Betsy lives in Bozeman, MT, with her husband, writer David Quammen. AboutTEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading <b>...</b>
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