Newbury Portion

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Hemingway’s Life: Reborn In Cuba

When you know me better you will realize how much I love the works of Hemingway. Today though it amazes me how little is known about the man.

For many American's in my generation it went without say that Hemingway was part of your life. At least academically. His impact on our culture and society as a whole is substantial which is why it pains me to learn that my niece; She will graduate next Spring, has never picked up one of his works. Nor was she forced to read one in school.

She didn't even know he visited Cuba, nor the impact it had on his work. He has spent more than two decades there and it was between the walls of the Finca Vigia, or Ferme Vigie. A property that has become a heritage restoration workshop outside of Havana. It is a joint project of the Cuban institutions and an American NGO, which emerged despite the resurgence of tensions with Washington initiated by Donald Trump. that Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his greatest works, "The Old Man and the Sea".

Ernest Hemingway lived on the premises from 1939 to 1960. He left thousands of documents such as manuscripts of his books, but also correspondence, photographs, or annotated works. A page of his life that he toured almost a year after the revolution. A year before his final his days.

Though he is one of the major figures of literature in the United States I fear that we will someday be oblivious to the importance he had.

The Capacity to Care

In the middle of concentric circles, Jesus is introduced to us here: In the innermost circle he stands, the Son of Mary, together with his mother. Interestingly, Marcus does not report anything from Josef. Then Jesus' male kin is listed by name, then the female ones are mentioned across the board. Then the "family," then the father. Finally, it is reported that Jesus enters into the "villages in the vicinity." Concentric circles – the human environment of Jesus.

Jesus is not only the true God, but also true man …

On the one hand, Jesus belonged to a large family.

Many who hear the gospel today are relieved t experience a Jesus who is described from "human conditions."

It makes access to Jesus more tangible, however, it apparently had the opposite effect at the time of Jesus' earthly existence. The fact that one knows Jesus so well and knows about his family makes it impossible for the people believe he is God's Son.

Jesus sums this up in the proverb sentence: "A prophet does not apply anything in his father's city, even with his relatives and his family."

What is true about this sentence (to this day), and why is it true?

Apparently, there is a certain strangeness to the man who wants and should be directing God's word, and one does not want to and should not know so much about him; In the past, the salutary Jesus was known.

Anyone who knows "too much" tends to make the messenger of God smaller than he is – the "stories" only obscure the message.

Is this why we learn so little personal and biographical about Jesus in John's Gospel and with Paul? And by considering this, we discover here a danger of modern piety that Jesus sees as a "buddy." Then Jesus is one of us, but at the same time foreign, the mission of God, is the sacred. Have we not tried by all means to draw Jesus more humanely? Didn't biblical sociology and comparison contribute a lot to this?

I feel like it has.

Even on such issues there is obviously the danger of all the humanization of Jesus if it does not strike clear border. The exploration of the historical Jesus has often succumbed to this danger, suggesting that it had just been or something like "it" could have been.

The result of this Jesus has been seen in literature, yet it often comes across as described in Mark 6: We know Jesus as a Jew, as a peasant revolutionary, as half a Zealot, as a humanitarian, pacifist Jew. And with that, everything in truth is troubling interpreted away.

What would be troubling would be if he had to do with the real presence of God and man.

Since we know all human conditions so perfectly, the impression arises that believing in the divinity of Jesus is superfluous.

Whoever dissolves everything into human conditions cheats on himself and others for the actually exciting, the real and real occasion for all Jesus stories.

That this is about the unfathomable, incomprehensible, mysterious God.

We also have to contend with the same phenomenon in pastoral care. Pastoral care is always a reflection of our faith in Jesus. We have become accustomed to providing pastoral care as a sum of pastoral psychology, sociology, medicine and science.

All cases of earlier "pastoral care" are well dissolved into numerous boxes of human conditions. Only the mysterious remnant degenerates under the puzzle word "spirituality."

But it seems to me that we don't want that [the actual spirituality or piety] at all. For this reason we search out alternatives that give us the feeling of piety, compassion and understanding. But it is only a veil that is held in front. Underneath the actual capacity to care is nowhere to be found.

Jesus had the capacity to feel as a person but to care without limit.

It is time we took his message more to heart!

Inspiration: The Danish Fishing Industry

In Denmark, fishing is undergoing a huge transformation in a small way. But how can a small country make a change?

First a little background into the state of the commercial fishing today.

The fishing industry or fishing sector is the economic activity of the primary sector which consists of fishing and producing fish, shellfish and other marine products for human consumption or as raw material of processes.

Here in most of the western world, it is a big industry with a few major players. This is true for most of the developed and developing markets worldwide. According to statistics from United Nations, Global fish production in 2001 was 130.2 million tons. In addition to commercial catches, 37.9 million tons were produced in aquaculture fish farms.

The largest production comes from the sea, however, where each country has an exclusive economic zone to navigate and fish, of 370.4 km (200 nautical miles) of extension of the coast towards offshore. Beyond that limit, the capture of marine species is free, as they are considered international waters.

In the years between 1990 and 2000 it became increasingly evident that the fishing exploitation severely decimated the populations of certain types of marine fish, such as cod, which could disappear in 15 years if it is harvested at the current pace.

A sector of the fishing industry that seems to remain in good health, though production is confined to a relatively small number of fishermen, is that of freshwater fishing in Canada. The commercial fishing industry in Manitoba is made up of about 3,500 fishermen who produce 25.95% of Canada's freshwater catches.

But how does that related to the danish fishing industry?

In Denmark small fishing boats feed the local community, create jobs and contribute to the preservation of ecosystems on European coasts. But can they compete with the big fishing industry, which has the means to put small boats out of business?

One reason the fish populations continue to be in decline is because of the large fish harvesting factories that can process the fish directly at sea, eliminating a need for a larger workforces through streamlined efficiency.

Many Danish fishermen are born into the work, with their profession, a family trade for generations. Everyday life for the fishermen is hard; with eleven hours on rough seas everyday.

While some give up on their family professions and seek easier more lucrative work elsewhere, others find ways to grow and thrive.

The work is hard on rough sea, confined to small boats. Their, a three-men crew can haul in 1,500 kilograms of fish on the North Western coast of Denmark. At one time a similarly sized crew would have expected large catches. Now large beam trawlers damage the seabed and take in the majority of fish.

Still, a small village is setting an old tradition forward with a twist that modern industrial fishing cannot match.

Landing on a sandy beach would destroy most modern ships but not the small oak boats built in region, constructed even before the Viking Age. Thorupstrand is a fishing village and has only a few hundred permanent residents, with several thousand residents in the surrounding area relying on the small fleet of oak fishing boats that depart from the village everyday for food.

These smaller wooden vessels use nets that only stay on the ground briefly, and are pulled up again before they have a chance to destroy the ocean's delicate ecosystem.

Small-scale fishing has always played a crucial role in many European regions, Denmark is not unique in this regard.

Such operations are crucial to the Mediterranean and Black Seas regions, small-scale fishing accounts for more more than three-quarter of the total active fishing fleet; an industry that accounts for more than fifty percent of the total workforce active in the fishing sector.

The European Union is aware of the importance of these small scale operation which is why in the last seven years alone, small-scale fishing companies received around 210 million euro in public funding to support sustainability and diversification projects in the region.

Unfortunately this was something that came too late for Denmark, which lost many of its independent fishing operations more than a decade ago to larger competition.

At the time, it was decided to assign fishing quotas to boat owners, this was a transferable resource which big companies were willing pay a lot of money to buy. At that time market prices exploded making it hard for small scale operators to enter and many independent fishermen sold their boats and quotas and gave up fishing altogether.

Coastal towns lost their boats and turned into ghost towns. Fearing for their future, Thorupstrand fishermen decided to take action. Through cooperation the local community preserved its fishing rights and traditional methods and cultural heritage including the trade of wooden boat making, which is famous, not just in Denmark but around the world.

The village even managed to expand its sales to the Danish capital, selling fresh fish in Copenhagen.

Through support of the local industry and the embrace of traditional techniques Thorupstrand has proven that small scale can make a big impact for both the environment and provide sustainability for the local workforce a the same time.

To Know Infinity

"The Man Who Knew Infinity" tells the story of the great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Ramanujan was born into a very poor family on December 22nd, 1887 but managed to be admitted to the University of Cambridge during the First World War.

He died on April 26th, 1920 in Kumbakonam

Through his childhood and youth Ramanujan showed a great deal of interest in mathematics and was largely self-taught, learning mathematics alone from two books that he obtained before the age of sixteen, showing a drive for independent and original thought. These books allowed him to establish a strong basis in the theory of numbers, on continuous fractions and on divergent series, while creating his own rating system. Through the help of his employer he was able to have very papers published in Indian mathematical journals and they attempted to interest European mathematicians in his work by sending out letters.

One of these letters, sent in January 1913 to Godfrey Harold Hardy, contains a long list of formulas and theorems without a demonstration. This was one of Ramanujan weakest areas, and one that held him back in his attempt to achieve recognition. Hardy first considers this unusual consignment to be a deception, and then discusses it extensively with John Littlewood to convince him that his author is certainly a "genius", a qualifier that is now generally overused and meaningless. Hardy responded to Ramanujan and invited him to come to England; a fruitful collaboration, in the company of Littlewood, results from this collaboration.

Yet it was one that was to be short lived. Affected all his life by health problems, Ramanujan sees his condition worsened during his stay in England due to the cold winters and harsh living conditions he must endure; He returned to India in 1919 where he died shortly thereafter in Kumbakonam at the age of thirty-two. He left behind the books of unsubstantiated theories which, at the beginning of the 21st century, continue to be studied and proven by modern day mathematicians.

Ramanujan worked mainly on elliptic functions and on the analytic theory of numbers; It became famous for his calculations involving constants such as π and e, prime numbers or even the partition function of an integer, which was studied with Hardy. A great creator of mathematical formulas, he invented several thousand of them which practically all proved accurate, but some of which could not be demonstrated until after 1980 when computer models could became more common; some of them, Hardy particularly, was amazed by their originality, he once said that "only one glance was enough to realize that they could only be thought of by a first-rate mathematician. They had to be true, for if they had been false, no one would have had enough imagination to invent them."

The film "The Man Who Knew Infinity" stars Dev Patel as the protagonist Srinivasa Ramanujan. And though it was first released in 2015 I just now had the chance to see it. For an actor to interpret this role must have been a challenge both professionally and personally since Dev makes you believe that these impossible calculations are pouring from inside.

This film tells of a story, the full story, of his success and demise. It is at the same time a very inspiring story, one that people will recognize while at the same time heart wrenching.

I didn't know anything about this amazing man before I watched the film.

But at the same time I realized that this must be true for others as well. For that reason I decided to make him into today's topic. I thought if I could help make his legacy known to just one other person it would be something very positive, indeed.

That's why I am writing this revue.

I found his setbacks so personal, so harrowing. For example once in the United Kingdom, the mathematician had to face rejection and racism.

Outside of the men that knew him at Cambridge, few others were in a position to share much of his life. There are no videos or interviews like there would be today. It is impossible to know how he spoke or how he carried himself. It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words and yet they do so little to tell the story of who this man was. Still, the filmmakers tried to capture the essence of a man who died almost a hundred years prior. They looked at him through the lens of photographers, they tried to understand what he read. In the end I think they managed to reflect him in the film so that he felt tangible, real, even though his intellect was anything but.

If you can I would highly recommend watching this beautiful movie.

My Professional Opinion on Business Plans

I am a business consultant, day job, some nights, and weekends on occasion. I like theology and the arts. These are the topics that interest me personally, but today I thought that it was time to share a topic that I know well.

And one aspect of business that cannot in overlooked is the importance of a business plan when going into business.

So what is it? This plan? And what can it do for your?

The business plan is the structured systematic overview of the planned start-up project in written form with a planed horizon of usually three to five years.

It includes, in a holistic way, the idea of the foundation and thus forms the basis for the implementation of the business idea.

In other words, the business plan is this, a document that maps out the company's strategy for success.

Can you see why they are important?

It is understood that future development is only a possibility, thus anticipation of, and actual development, is therefore not a guarantee but a goal. There can be not only deliberative, i.e. deliberate, strategies, but also emergent strategies, that is, those that condense due to unintentional insights. This waste of potential such as emergent strategies cannot therefore be foreseen or planned. They can be neglected, however when we regard the business plan as the only planning instrument that can take into account all possible developments is therefore extremely detrimental.

For this purpose, the planning would have to be supplemented with the scenario analysis, but this is also not possible to take into account strategies that arise over time and due to the compression of unintentional orders.

To get the benefit from a plan while remaining flexible you need to focus on several different functions of business. It is easy to focus solely on planning – this would not make sense when planning the company – there must also be room for exploration and learning curves. A well-founded business plan is the basis for a systematic consideration of the company and thus of continuous control.

This focus is not correct.

Not entirely at least.

The following advantages are often mentioned in literature when shaping a plan:

  • Partial or full review of the business concept, meetings for all Deal/No Deal decisions
  • Improve the range of services in the start-up stage
  • Find other, better market opportunities or founding ideas
  • Anticipate requirements/needs that need a certain lead time
  • Anticipate potential problems of the founding process
  • Preparation and thus accelerating future decisions
  • Inclusion of external suggestions for improvement/feedback
  • Better understanding of common tasks
  • Think about the foundation – how it promotes the learning process

These advantages are juxtaposed with another set, one which is also often mentioned:

  • Opportunity cost of time to gather information
  • Changing environment conditions make existing information obsolete and require planning to be adjusted
  • Danger of reinforcing misconceptions about the future and making bad decisions as a result
  • Risk of being discouraged by emerging complexity/difficulties
  • Labor-intensive activity without real feedback whose effect becomes visible only later
  • Discouragement from external criticism or exposing weaknesses

The important distinction between the business plan and the business model is to recognize that, during the development of the business model, the benefits are put first, while the business plan only serves to help others convince the business model.

So, and this is the crucial thing, the business plan is basically just an instrument for convincing others of the validity of your idea. This is also understandable because the business plan is the document that is handed over. While the founding team should be more convinced of the business model than the actual plan, others need to be more convinced of the business plan. The fact that the business plan is therefore a record of earnings of the business model should therefore be taken for granted.

When professionals collaborate it is the the opinion of the company founders themselves, the knowledge of the industry which is a key factor in the success of the business: When asked which factor they consider is particularly important for the success of the company, industry knowledge weighed the highest on the list. A competent management team came next, followed by innovation, financing, business plan and placement in the market.

Weigh the following considerations following hypotheses that the importance of a business plan determine future business success:

The hypothesis that: An above-average business plan indicates an above-average successful business.

  1. The number of analyses during formation is related to the company's success.
  2. If the competition analysis had a positive influence on the foundation, there are likely to be fewer discrepancies later.
  3. The more intensive the planning, the more successful the company.
  4. The more realistic the planning, the more successful the company.
  5. The more diverse the targets of the business plan, the more successful the company.

All of these have been rejected. And the last has actually proven to create a negative connection. Meaning that the more diversity will lead to a deterioration in the relationship between the plan and success.

The importance of detailed planning of the business results in certain periods where it should be considered less significant than the founders attempt to create a successful business model in the market.

Thus, it is less to follow the approach in order to merely increase access. A business plan should therefore be used as a tool to persuade and strengthen the assumptions of the model since they are subject to a continuous review.

Round 2: Trump vs. China

Trump wants to support farmers here in the US suffering from the ongoing trade war with China with 12 billion dollars. He announced this during his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In a first step, the U.S. had increased its tariffs on imports from China worth $200 billion from 10 to 25 percent. In a second step, tariffs are to be extended to additional goods produced in China worth $325 billion – which will in essence affect all imports from China.

China, in turn, has announced an increase in tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods. As a result, negotiations with China ended without a breakthrough or plan for further talks, stock markets here and China slumped.

The new tariffs where in upped to 25 percent for goods like cotton, machinery and grain. Tariffs on aircraft parts and optical instruments double to 20 percent.

The Price of Coffee

How much does a cup of really good coffee actually cost?

Recently the difference between good and bad cup of coffee with some friends after lunch. We all ordered a cup of coffee and it was delicious. And good, as you know, comes at a cost, either your or somebody else's cost. So can we afford a good coffee?

The average American drinks about 60 gallons of coffee a year. And of course we drink it as cheaply as possible. On average, we pay $10 for a gallon of beer. And brewing a cup of coffee costs just 0.1 dollar.

Really? 10 cents? Can that be true? Sure it is, they have been studying this for a long time, you can find the research on the web. So is let's calculate …

I only drink coffee from large mugs, those cups with handle on them, you know, the large ones. How much coffee do you need to fill such a cup? General recommendations for the so-called Golden Ratio are (using the metric system because I like consistency in my coffee): About 60 grams of coffee for 1 liter of water. So, that makes 12 grams per cup. I like it a bit stronger, so we will agree on 13 grams, and that actually pretty much matches the 2 tablespoons of coffee beans I grind for a cup.

Now to the cost very good, high-quality, fair trade organic coffee costs about 12¢, per cup price comes out to 31¢.

Verdict: You have a choice. Good coffee costs about 10¢ cents good beer, $2.50: Great coffee, around 30¢ cents per cup, however, you are paying for: Great taste, freshness, no pesticides, and fair pay for local small farmers.

Is the choice hard? Not really.

What is the price of a good cup of coffee?

For me personally it could be defined in one word.


I. M. Pei

Abstract shapes and sharp, geometric designs have made Chinese-born architect Ieoh Ming Pei a star in the West. He turned 102 in April.

Pei died in his Manhattan apartment on May 16, 2019.

Pei, famous for, among other things, the design of the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. His handling of simple geometric shapes and playing with light shaped his work.

Sponsored by Walter Gropius, the exiled founder of the Bauhaus at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, and Marcel Breuer, Pei is considered to be its most accomplished classical modernist supporter. Pei had already moved to the USA at the age of 17 for training, the Second World War prevented his return to China.

I. M. Pei was born into a wealthy family. His father was a senior executive at the Bank of China, and in 1927 he was transferred to the bank's headquarters in Shanghai. The mother, an artistically educated woman and practicing Buddhist closer to him than his father, died of cancer when he was 13.

Pei went to school in Shanghai at a boarding school run by American missionaries. North American standards were conveyed there, wearing Western school clothes, the preferred sports being basketball and tennis. Pei experienced a contrast with this environment during the summer holidays in Suzhou northwest of Shanghai with his grandfather, who introduced him to traditional Chinese values, with family sense and the teachings of Confucius.

Later Pei described the early experiences with both worlds as a win.

At that time, the first high-rise buildings were built in the East Asian business center in Shanghai, of which Pei was very impressed. He decided to study modern architecture, which was only possible overseas. In August 1935, Pei traveled to the United States and, after a brief stint in Philadelphia, enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston.

In 1942, Pei married the Chinese born, Ai-Ling Loon (1920 – 2014), whom he had met four years earlier in Boston. They have three sons and one daughter. Pei never talked about his personal life, nor didoes he talk politics. He was described as an amiable, witty interlocutor who never loses calm even in critical situations. His secretary believed he only cursed once in her presence in the thirty years she worked for him.

Still, he was a figure of controversy; His designs often caused violent resistance at first, but then mostly contributed all the more to his fame. Time and again his special energy was emphasized, which enabled him to perform with a high level of energy even in old age.

One of his partners once said: "He's equipped with a different set of batteries than everyone else." Pei himself said of his motives: "In me I have a great desire to leave something behind. This has nothing to do with ego. I think you owe it to your own existence to leave something that remains."

The last masterpiece is the Museum of Islamic Art in the Emirate of Qatar.

Previously, it was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, USA, from where a disk jockey sent the term "rock and roll" into the world in the 1950s. The design of this building was meant to reflect the energy of rock and roll, the architect once said.

In between, the desire for experimentation would have almost ruined his company – the 240-meter-high John Hancock Tower in Boston, USA, huge discs fell out of the façade during every storm – be it like, the Bank of China in Hong Kong glitters like a crystal once again. This time Pei felt inspired by the bamboo, in Chinese culture which is seen as a positive symbol.

A New Magic Carpet Ride

Disney's animated film "Aladdin" re-envisioning is about ready to hit theaters.

The director; Guy Ritchie, is the man responsible for the reshuffle of the 1992 classic, which appears to be a potential another box office hit for Disney once again. In the role of the famous blue bottled Genie, Will Smith, who has slipped into the role made famous by Robin Williams seamlessly. For fans it was either a perfect fit or a miss-casting. Will Smith is aware of the high expectations fans have placed on his performance: "I was really scared in the beginning. You have to be careful with movies like this because they shape people's childhoods."

For me there is a certain nostalgia associated with the film since it was one of the last that I got invested in in my mid-teens.

Director Guy Ritchie wasn't put off by the expectations people placed on him. The couples three children played a role in their father's film choices.

"My children forced me to make a family movie," he quipped in an interview. "Aladdin was a logical choice for me. I was a fan of the 1992 animated version. One thing led to the other."

The film also stars the Cairo born actor Mena Massoud, with Princess Jasmin played by Brit Naomi Scott.

Aladdin isn't the first Disney animated film that has been subject to a live-action relaunch; "The Jungle Book " and "Dumbo " have already been re-filmed. And later this summer we'll get treated "The Lion King."

Aesthetics & Heuristic Organization

I once read a paper early in my career about aesthetics as a means of heuristics in the field of organizations. This was a boon for me because it pushed me in a direction that I may have overlooked at that time.

Today I want to visit some of those concepts and maybe you too can see the benefits of aesthetic heuristics.

Before we continue it would be pertinent to look at the topic of aesthetic organizational research, the organization represents a contact resulting from the human ability to utilize all senses to produce knowledge.

When we follow this approach, the area in which knowledge is generated is further developed in languages and in processes that cannot be verbalized or are very difficult to verbalize, such as gestural languages or intuitive processes. The ability to produce knowledge thus begins not only with communication, but already with the ability to sense and perceive.

Moreover, this approach is not systematic, but emphasizes the heuristics with which organizational life takes place, and does not follow the myth of rationality.

Unlike rational and intellectual knowledge, aesthetic ability is heavily dependent on heuristic mechanisms, which is not logically detectable, but nevertheless binds the organization to a reality that is at least as powerful as behavior certainties.

The aesthetics do not follow rationality so much as obey forms such as hieroglyphs, gestures, myths and metaphors.

As a result, the rational analysis has shifted the discussion away from the claim that such a claim is capable of recognizing facts in the most appropriate way in the best possible way, but rather an aesthetic view is required that interprets, since only in this way is the system really relevant and can be examined and, above all, can reach the right and targeted conclusions. The aesthetic knowledge corresponds to the post-modern understanding of organizations, since this is also partial, fragmentary and modest and has far more to do with the postmodern consumer and customer than the generalizable, universal and objective Knowledge of rational analyses.

Passive perception, that is, attention, is therefore not synonymous with aesthetics, since aesthetics are a tool of contemplation and observation, and actively and not only passively interferes in the processes of perception. But aesthetics are also not synonymous with artistic understanding, since there is no processing of materials here, but only a consideration. Moreover, aesthetics are not an emotion caused in particular by a sense, but a heuristics that arises from several experiential impressions, i.e. a mesh, and should be used for this purpose. Thus, the approach calls for far more than the analytical approach, since here the observer also integrates into the observation process viewer. Wanting to rely solely on analysis does not engage at the very moment without aesthetics, when the observer must reach conclusions without support, and this is exactly what happens with every analysis when data is used.

So there will always be a moment when the observer has to intervene in what is happening. Aesthetics in the field of organizations therefore always, not only with expirations of language, but already to include processes and unverbalized gestures and mimics in order to arrive at a synthesis rather than just an analysis.

In conclusion you can see how important aesthetics are as a tool for organization when the aesthetic nature of the subject are taken into account. When this happens full potential is achievable with less direct involvement; that is through indirect means, i.e. engagement through passive perception through aesthetic heuristics.

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