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Thursday, May 29, 2008

San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal gets the green light

by Mike Chino

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San Franciscans rejoice! The Transbay Joint Powers Authority just approved a stunning green design for the new Transbay Transit Center to be constructed in downtown SF. Planned by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the project consists of a graceful glass tower paired with an elegantly sweeping transit center topped with a five-and-a-half acre public park. Both structures will showcase a stellar set of sustainable features and will fulfill the project’s aim of centralizing the region’s transportation network while providing the SOMA neighborhood with a valuable community space.

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Pelli Clarke Pelli’s design does an excellent job of balancing the center between three principles: transit, community, and sustainability. City Park is constructed as an expansive 5.4 acre green roof that will be freely accessible to the public and will host a variety of cultural activities. It will also be an educational resource, “exhibiting several local ecologies and sustainability strategies, and presenting interpretive information for each”.

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The slender spire touts a curtain cut from high-performance glazed glass bolstered by passive solar shading. The tower’s top is crowned with wind turbines, and each floor draws fresh air directly from the outside via the structure’s facade. Geothermal heating and cooling helps to regulate the building’s temperature, and both the tower and the park will benefit from a sophisticated rain and graywater recycling system that can provide water to neighboring buildings as well.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has lauded the project, stating: “Through this forward thinking project, we can inspire change to an environmentally sustainable model of living while also enhancing economic growth in our City, region and State.” Construction is slated to kick of this year, and the center should be fully realized by 2014.

+ Transbay Transit Center

+ Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects


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Transbay Transit Center San Francisco, transportation San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects transit center, SOMA neighborhood San Francisco, eco-friendly travel San Francisco, City Park San Francisco, eco-friendly transportation San Francisco, transbay5

Transbay Transit Center San Francisco, transportation San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects transit center, SOMA neighborhood San Francisco, eco-friendly travel San Francisco, City Park San Francisco, eco-friendly transportation San Francisco, transbay3

Transbay Transit Center San Francisco, transportation San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects San Francisco, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects transit center, SOMA neighborhood San Francisco, eco-friendly travel San Francisco, City Park San Francisco, eco-friendly transportation San Francisco, transbay6

More on the Ferrari California

Whenever you first see a convertible version of a previously hard-roofed car, it's a constant struggle to avoid those cringeworthy 'going topless' puns (ooh-err, nudge nudge etc).

But the Ferrari California has done things rather the other way round. This is the first time we've seen the new V8 GT with its roof up, as the original pictures only showed it roof-down.

We've got a bunch more information on the California, too. As you can see, it's a two-piece folding hard-top that stows away under a hinged boot panel. Ferrari says it'll close in just 14 seconds, with a loss of bootspace of 100 litres - down from 360 litres with the roof up.

The two-seat/four-seat confusion becomes a little clearer, too. Ferrari is referring to the California as a '2+' - there's space behind the front passengers for either very small people or a decent amount of luggage - but you do at least get rear seatbelts.

We've also got a better idea of how the California lines up against its rivals. At 456cm long, it's 10 centimetres shorter than a DB9 and a couple of centimetres longer than a Mercedes SL - but a whole 26cm longer than the mid-engined Lambo Gallardo. It's about the same width as the Lamborghini, though a good eight cm wider than the SL. Not tiny, in other words.

By Ferrari's standards, the California is a veritable fuel-sipper, recording 21.5mpg on the combined cycle. It may not sound very green, but don't forget the Gallardo manages a mere, erm, 14.5mpg.

If you're wondering about that slightly dodgy powder-blue paintjob, it's the Azzuro California livery - the very same colour that the original California Spider was shown in at the New York Show in 1962.

We'd probably stick with Rosso Corsa, but there's no denying that the California is lining up to be a seriously sorted bit of kit. Roof down or up.

Britain's Got Talent: Suleman Mirza and Madhu Singh doing it again

Who Says Michael Jackson is Dead!!!

Cool act @ Britain’s Got Talent

Railroads are the true Green Companies

A new CSX Corp. radio ad declares that even the most fuel-efficient hybrid car can't compete with a train, which "can move a ton of freight 423 miles on a single gallon of fuel."

"Too bad we can't all drive a train," the announcer says before urging listeners to visit CSX's Web site to learn about the Jacksonville, Fla., company's "commitment to protecting the environment."

Railroad companies, long a target of environmentalists who blame them for everything from deforestation to toxic spills, are marketing themselves as the ultimate eco-friendly, low-fuel-consuming industry.

With fuel prices at record highs and worries about global warming reaching critical mass, U.S. companies of all stripes are touting their green credentials. That list includes plenty of businesses that wouldn't normally be associated with the environmental movement, like oil companies or mining outfits. But the juxtaposition for trains is among the starkest.

Early in the 20th century, steam-powered trains, fueled by coal, cast off trails of embers that often ignited and denuded the surrounding landscape. Train accidents and cargo spills still taint perceptions of railroad companies. Earlier this month, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train partially derailed in Lafayette, La., and began leaking hydrochloric acid. Several thousand people were forced to evacuate. (Accidents involving trains carrying hazardous material have been declining slightly over the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.)

Freight trains now use much cleaner and more fuel-efficient diesel engines, and railroad companies are testing new engines that the industry is touting as "ultralow-emission." Many environmentalists acknowledge that the railroads have a powerful argument, given that freight trains burn far less fuel than trucks and can help reduce highway congestion.

"In general, train transportation is much more fuel efficient than trucking, and we should be doing more of it," says Colin F. Peppard, transportation policy coordinator for Friends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy group.

Several rail companies are rolling out their own statistics to make the case that the switch to trains is good for the environment. Norfolk Southern Corp. is running a series of environmentally themed television spots and has a "carbon footprint analyzer" feature on its Web site that allows customers to measure the environmental advantages of shipping by freight rather than truck.

Union Pacific Corp.'s Web site touts the company's "cleaner and greener" fleet of locomotives and argues that if 25% of truck freight was diverted to rail, there would be "nearly 800,000 fewer tons of air pollution" by 2025.

Much rides on this approach. For the first time in decades, railroad stock prices have been rising, and business is booming. By one estimate, the railroad industry will need to expand its capacity by 88% in the next quarter-century, as highways get even more congested, fuel prices rise and more shippers decide to use trains to move their products. What's more, railroads -- which used to carry mainly raw materials such as coal and timber -- are now increasingly transporting consumer goods from ports to cities.

As the industry begins billions of dollars worth of system improvements, it is increasingly seeking public money to help pay for some of the expansion projects. Norfolk Southern, for example, is seeking public funding to help pay to upgrade the Crescent Corridor, a network of routes between the New York City area and New Orleans. The industry is also asking Congress to pass a proposed bill that would give railroads tax credits for money spent on track expansion.

The railroad industry is also trying to fend off calls for tougher federal regulations that would make it easier for shippers to challenge prices in areas where a railroad has a monopoly.

Some environmentalists say the industry hasn't done enough. In the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, environmental groups are battling Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., which are seeking to expand and modernize their rail-yard operations in the neighborhoods surrounding the nation's busiest port system.

Last year, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which monitors air quality in the Los Angeles region, released a statement accusing the railroads of "spew(ing) toxic diesel soot into neighborhoods, backyards and school yards, posing health risk to residents."

"From our viewpoint, it just seems that they've been extremely recalcitrant and stubborn in terms of being willing to adopt cost-effective measures that will reduce air pollution," said Sam G. Atwood, the district's spokesman.

Union Pacific Chief Executive James Young says that a certain amount of community resistance is inevitable whenever a business tries to expand. "You have the not-in-my-backyard mentality," he said.

Norfolk Southern executives say they first began to hone their eco-friendly message about three years ago with a television ad showing a tree lifting a freight container off a busy highway and placing it on a train.

Norfolk Southern's latest ads -- a campaign dubbed "The Lonely Gallon," showing a family of gas cans looking on forlornly as a train whizzes by -- will air roughly 400 times during the fall election season, the company said.

If This Guy Played Guitar Hero He Would Pwn You All!

Alexander Dmitriev plays Flight of the bumble bee from Korsakov on the Accordion (bayan). Perfect! He is wonderful!

iControlPad Dock Makes iPhone Serious Gaming Platform

iControlPad is a docking system that fits snugly around your iPhone and gives you access to a control pad and four buttons that you can use for mobile gaming. The dock is currently compatible with the ZodTTD game emulators for iPhone.

read more | digg story

The case for Nukes

(Fortune Magazine) -- When Goldman Sachs analysts suggested last week that oil could hit $200 a barrel, I expected someone somewhere to express horror at the possibility. But the reaction was a tiny, resignation-filled sigh. Relentless fuel-price increases have so exhausted consumers that we don't have the energy to be outraged anymore. So we feel helpless as we watch oil sprint past the $130 mark on its way to price-prohibitive territory and wonder whether it's too late to bring back the horse and buggy. Our sense of helplessness is an illusion: There are things we can do. We got ourselves into this mess, mostly through multiple administrations of politically comfortable but shortsighted decision-making. And inasmuch as we're willing to stand a little political discomfort, we can get ourselves out.

One uncomfortable way to mitigate the energy crisis has been under our nose since the 1950s: nuclear energy. It's one of the cleanest and most efficient alternatives to coal- and natural-gas-based electricity production, and it's responsible for less than 20% of domestic electricity production. The most recent numbers (2006) indicate that coal-based production was the largest contributor, at 48%. Increasingly expensive petroleum and natural gas account for 22%. All three are replaceable.

It may not be fashionable to suggest that the French know what they're doing with regard to anything but wine and cheese, but spend some time in Provence and note the remarkably clean air and cheap electricity, 75% of which is produced by nuclear power plants. Most of the plants were built after the 1970s oil shocks that sent France's economy into a tailspin because it was almost completely dependent on foreign oil, as we are now. Nuclear energy doesn't produce the air pollution that burning coal does, and even waste products are recyclable, though it hasn't been done thanks to an also potentially shortsighted Carter-era decision to ban it over fears of nuclear terrorism.

Although the ban has been reversed, the fears still linger. But irrational fear of improbable safety breaches is responsible for most opposition to nuclear power in this country. The unlikely culprit? Pop culture. We've seen "The China Syndrome," and we worry that nuclear-reactor employees may be bumbling Homer Simpsons, capable of accidentally pushing the red button. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island - the former of which killed 36 people and the latter of which killed none - have become so outsized in the American imagination that our perception of actual risk has been completely distorted. We're willing to tolerate the health risks and environmental repercussions of other fuels to avoid the infinitesimally small and comically improbable possibility of a catastrophic accident that resembles something out of a 1979 Jane Fonda movie, the likes of which have never happened in the history of nuclear power.

We also cognitively associate nuclear power with bombmaking and having seen what atomic radiation can do to people; we think of it as being exponentially worse than exposure to fire, poisonous gases, and pollution - the likely repercussions of large-scale accidents at conventional power plants. As with anything that's exotic, potentially dangerous, and little understood, it becomes more frightening in mythology. Silhouettes of cooling towers on the horizon seem sinister because we've seen the imagery from Chernobyl - an accident that was exacerbated because it was left burning for five days, which would never happen now.

Are there downsides? Yes. Nuclear waste has to be stored somewhere, and consistent with human behavior since the beginning of time, no one wants it in his own backyard. But at some point we have to weigh the necessity of energy independence against the cost of uncomfortable fixes like nuclear energy. As oil climbs to the point where no one can afford it and we're forced to stop buying it- what Goldman analysts euphemistically call "demand destruction," as if it were intentional- we may find that we have no choice. We can't afford to be afraid anymore.

By Elizabeth Spiers, contributor

Dunkin pulls Rachel Ray ad-- too bad

Politically Correct mucky mucks gone awry again.

BOSTON (AP) -- Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because "the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee."

In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms.

Critics, including conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, complained that the scarf wrapped around her looked like a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress. Critics who fueled online complaints about the ad in blogs say such scarves have come to symbolize Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The kaffiyeh, Malkin wrote in a column posted online last Friday, "has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not-so-ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons."

A statement issued by Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands Inc., however, said the scarf had a paisley design, and was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot.

"Absolutely no symbolism was intended," the company said.

Dunkin' spokeswoman Michelle King said the ad appeared on the chain's Web site, as well as other commercial sites.

Malkin, in a posting following up on last week's column, said of Dunkin's decision to pull the ad, "It's refreshing to see an American company show sensitivity to the concerns of Americans opposed to Islamic jihad and its apologists."

Ray, host of the Food Network television program "30 Minute Meals" as well as a syndicated daytime talk show, began appearing in ads for Dunkin' Donuts in March 2007. When Dunkin' announced the partnership, it said Ray would be featured in TV, print, radio and online spots in a campaign running through 2010. To top of page

Miley Cyrus in trouble again over new racy shots

27/05/2008 8:38:00 AM.

Less than a month after Miley Cyrus made headlines by appearing topless in Vanity Fair, racy photos of the Hannah Montana star have again hit the net.

The shots, supposedly sent by the 15-year-old to her then-boyfriend Nick Jonas, could not have surface at a more sensitive time for the young star.

It’s unlikely Hannah Montana producers, Disney, will be happy about the newly circulated photos, after their heavy-handed reaction to the comparatively tasteful Vanity Fair shoot.

Cyrus, the daughter of country music star Billy Ray, reportedly earned over $US18 million last year alone.

Last month, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner expressed interest in having her pose for his magazine once she turned 18.

10+ things you can do to motivate your team

To get things done these days, working in teams is almost imperative. But how can you, as a leader, motivate a team to accomplish your objectives? How can you avoid common mistakes that can kill performance and morale? This article discusses ways of doing so.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Believe in your team’s objectives

Do you believe in what you want the team to accomplish? Do you think your goals are realistic? If not, rethink your position, because your team will sense your uncertainty. You may say the right words, but your body language and overall demeanor will give you away. On the other hand, if you truly are dedicated and believe in your goals, your team will sense it and will react accordingly.

#2: Model the behavior you want from the team

Don’t be a hypocrite — lead by example. You want your team to interact courteously and professionally with others, but do you do so yourself? If you ask them to put in extra hours, are you there along with them? Country artist Rodney Atkins sings about how one day, his four-year-old son said “a four-letter word,” but how later that night, all by himself he got on his knees and prayed. What did the son say when asked about how he learned to do both things? “I’ve been watchin’ you.”

#3: Keep a positive attitude

  • Game 1 of the NBA Finals has just begun. Fifteen seconds into the game, one team connects on a field goal, making the score 2-0. The other coach slumps in his chair, puts his head in his hands, and yells, “@(*@&@, this series is OVER!!”
  • (On November 12, 1989): Person 1: “The Berlin Wall just came down!” Person 2: “Horrible! The guards are now out of a job!”

Don’t laugh. If you have these attitudes, how do you think your team will react? If you model a negative attitude, your team will pick it up. I know it sounds trite, but try to stay upbeat.

Doing so doesn’t mean being unrealistic. It does mean, however, that you try to look at the glass as being half full rather than half empty. Instead of saying, for example, “This project will never succeed because of issues 1, 2, and 3,” consider saying, “If we want this project to succeed, it’s critical that we resolve issues 1, 2, and 3.”

#4: Be clear about your goals

It’s hard for your team to accomplish its goals if those goals are unclear or unknown to them. More important, it’s hard to get them even to agree with those goals if they don’t know what they are. Make sure your team knows what you are expecting of them. If you can quantify your goals so that you can measure how well you did compared to what you expected, so much the better.

#5: Get feedback from the team members

Unless you hear from your team members, you may have little or no idea of how effective or clear you are. Few of us enjoy hearing bad news or criticism, but if there’s a problem in what we’re doing, it’s important that we hear it.

When discussing issues with the team, don’t shoot the messenger. When listening to a team member, try to separate the message and issue from the person. Similarly, when someone is offering suggestions or discussing issues, try to separate your own self and ego from the discussion. If you do shoot the messenger, all you will have done is make your team even more reluctant to talk frankly with you in the future.

#6: Set expectations

Make sure your team knows what to expect of you. If they do, there’s less chance that they’ll be unpleasantly surprised or disappointed.

Suppose, from the previous point, you had a discussion with a team member, who made a few suggestions. Some of them are workable (so that you could act on them), but others aren’t. Before having this discussion, it would be good to let your team know that while you will listen to them, you may or may not adopt all of their suggestions. One would hope they’d realize this already, but it’s best to be explicit. Furthermore, if you do adopt a suggestion, make sure everyone knows about it.

#7: Avoid mixed messages

Consultant and trainer Robert Mager, in his book Analyzing Performance Problems, discusses the uses of consequences and rewards in shaping human behavior. Specifically, he points out that to encourage desirable behavior, there must be positive rewards for it. Conversely, to discourage undesirable behavior, there must be consequences that result from it. Believe it or not, some people mix up these two points. Have you, as a parent, ever said to your child, “Any time you have problem, you can talk to Mommy or Daddy”? What happens when they do? You become irritated and yell at them, “Come back later! Can’t you see I’m busy?!” If you send similar mixed messages to your staff, you will make it harder for them to act the way you want.

#8: Know the difference between exhorting and belittling

It’s fine and good for you to want greater and higher quality results from your team. However, be aware of the line between exhorting someone to do better and belittling them because they aren’t right now. The latter might work, but the chances are greater that it might only create resentment and turn out to be counterproductive.

A couple of weeks ago, after a rehearsal of the choir I direct, I said to two young men, “I want to see confidence in your eyes when you’re singing.” I didn’t say to them, “You idiots, you don’t know the music.” In other words, in keeping with the positive/negative point discussed earlier, I focused on where I wanted them to be, rather than on the fact that they weren’t there right now.

#9: Correct in private

If personal issues of a team member are becoming a problem, address them with the person in private. Don’t embarrass the person by bringing it up in public. Such issues include attendance and punctuality, dress, and general professionalism.

What about a mistake involving work? Use discretion here. Using the choir example again: Suppose a person has an incorrect rhythm in a measure. I will just take a moment and work it out with that person in front of the group. If he or she gets it, fine. However, if he or she were consistently missing notes and rhythms, I would need to talk privately with that person to see what’s going on.

#10: Praise in public

When someone does something right, you probably are happy and want that person to continue doing it. You also probably want to make that person look good in front of the others, and for the others to be motivated to improve their own performance. For those reasons, recognize good work in public, rather than in private.

Other things being equal, of course, most people would prefer money and praise rather than praise alone. However, praise alone still can motivate, as long as you’re sincere and specific in what you’re praising. Generalities are unhelpful. Rather, focus on the specific action, and how it benefited the group.

In the case of the young men I mentioned earlier, I spoke to them again just a few days ago, after our last rehearsal, which went really well. I said to one of them, “Remember I told you I wanted to see confidence in your eyes? Well, I see it now.” To the other, I said, “You’ve been practicing, right?” When he nodded yes, I continued, “See what a difference it makes?”

#11: Believe in your team

England expects every man to do his duty.

The Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, established British naval supremacy for decades afterward. In that battle, a fleet led by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of southwest Spain, near Cape Trafalgar. As both sides were preparing for the battle, Nelson sent his now-famous message to his fleet. Sadly, Nelson suffered a mortal wound and did not live to see his ultimate victory.

People tend to live up, or down, to your expectations. If you expect high performance from them, and they realize it, you have a greater chance of getting such performance than if you expect low performance.

It can be rewarding to see a team come together and execute the way you want. It’s even more rewarding to see people develop the way you want. However, try to be realistic. The members of my choir are all teenagers and friends with my younger daughter, Rayna. One day, I asked her, “Rayna, do some people in the choir tell you how much I’ve influenced them?” At that, Rayna replied, “Daddy, don’t flatter yourself.”

Calvin Sun works with organizations in the areas of customer service, communications, and leadership. His Web site is and his e-mail address is

Birth of a Super-Villain

Cybermonkeys' robotic arms bode well for artificial limbs

By Jonathan M. Gitlin | Published: May 28, 2008 - 12:00PM CT

Three years ago, we carried a brief report about a group of researchers in Pittsburgh who were working on a robotic arm that was being neurally controlled by a monkey. That work is published today in Nature, and it has been worth the wait. I'll leave the comedy potential of cybermonkeys until the end and go into a bit of the science first.

The neural control of movement has many components, but the motor cortex is central to them. The motor cortex has several areas, but the primary motor cortex, a strip of brain just behind the frontal lobe, is where you decide to send out signals to peripheral nerves to tell your arms or legs to do something. The cortex is also organized somatotopically: the region that controls the feet is next to that which controls the leg, then trunk, arm, and so on. The practical upshot of this is that we have a good idea which region of the primary motor cortex needs to be measured in order to work on controlling a cybernetic arm or hand.

Microelectrodes were implanted in the regions that control part of the monkeys' arm, and they were trained to use neural activity to control the prosthetic arm. Since you can't really give a monkey instructions, this was achieved by training the monkeys with a one-dimensional joystick; as they pushed the joystick, the arm would move. After several days, the monkeys had enough control with the joystick to retrieve food and feed themselves. Over time, the input from the joystick was reduced and cortical control was developed.

Since the arm has more degrees of freedom that need to be controlled compared to the one-dimensional joystick, the training was accomplished in stages. One priority for the researchers was to ensure that the delay between activation of the cortical region and movement of the arm wasn't excessive. Detecting the signal, processing it, and having the arm move took around 150 milliseconds, which isn't too far off the delay between activation of the motor cortex and moving an actual limb.

Although the monkeys were only trained in four tasks (move the arm to the food, grasp the food, move the arm to the mouth, ungrasp the food), monkey A (which was controlling a more advanced arm) refined its method, beginning to ungrasp sticky food after retrieving it, presumably after recognizing that it needn't be held unnecessarily. Monkey A was able to self-feed successfully 61 percent of the time; not a bad success rate for a complex procedure.

Previous experiments centered on using the primary motor cortex as a brain/computer interface have used cortical activity to control a cursor on a screen. This study instead uses brain activity to control a physical object that the monkey can interact with. The authors argue that this added factor is a major element of their success, and that it bodes well for the development of neurally-controlled artificial limbs. Cortical control, combined with tactile feedback similar to that described last year, should make for functional cybernetic limbs with a minimum of wires protruding from one's scalp.

Okay, commence cybermonkey jokes now.

Men’s Wardrobe Basics: 10 Closet Essentials

Men’s Wardrobe Basics: 10 Closet Essentials

These 10 closet essentials evoke a timeless look, can be worn almost year round and don’t follow any particular fashion trends. Every man should have these men’s wardrobe basics as the cornerstones of their wardrobe. Chances are you already have most if not all these wardrobe basics, but regardless of your age group or profession, your closet should always have these garments hanging around.

“The goal I seek is to have people refine their style through my clothing without having them become victims of fashion.” Giorgio Armani

1. White Polo Shirt – It’s safe to go with a classic logo, such as an Alligator or a Horse. The material should be made out of pique cotton while having banded arms and a shallow shirt tail so it can be worn untucked. Don’t be afraid to use Clorox to keep the white bright, and hang dry it to maintain the crisp look. Strive for a spectrum of colors as if your closet was a store display.

2. Versatile Blue Jeans – Whether it’s a pair of classic Levi’s denim or hand-spun Japanese selvedge, you should have a pair you can wear casually or formally. Aim for a straight-cut finish, as boot-cut swallows your shoes [unless you’re actually wearing boots] and slim-cut makes you look like you’re an Emo band frontman. You should only have paint splatters if you’re a painter, and similarly only have carpenter jeans if you’re a carpenter.

3. Dark Solid Suit – If you only have one suit in your wardrobe, make sure it’s a resourceful one. You should be able to wear it to a wedding, job interview or even a funeral. Furthermore, if there’s only one item you choose to get tailored, it should be this piece. You don’t want to look like you’re borrowing your older brother’s jacket and pants. Also please don’t have more than 3 buttons unless you plan on shaking David Stern’s hand at the podium.

4. Power Tie – You should have a tie that exudes confidence. You may not be in a position of power, but the proper tie can propel you on to the fast track. Don’t be afraid to mix a bold colored tie with your dark suit, as the contrast conveys self-assurance. A power tie is pretty debatable [I’ve yet to see power levels on any of my neckwear], so the other elements of your particular outfit can make it seem like one.

5. French Cuff Shirt – Formal cuffs can add a touch of elegance to a drab outfit. Like you would with your bedsheets [or probably not], pay attention to the thread count of your French cuff shirt. Spread collars will also give the shirt better symmetry. The sleeves should be slightly longer than your traditional dress shirt to give allowance for the corresponding cuff links, but if you go to a quality men’s boutique, they should tell you everything you need.

6. V-Neck Sweater – V-neck sweaters [either a patterned or solid color] provide the ultimate layer and middleman between a shirt and jacket. Go for a banded waistline for a better segue to your pants. Make sure you have a stiff collar underneath if you plan to layer it over this type of shirt. Although parallel, do not wear a V-Neck shirt along with a V-Neck sweater. The only double V’s belong to a vulva and vagina.

7. Grey Wool Trousers – Similarly to the other bottoms on this list, grey trousers allow for maximum versatility – they’re work-appropriate, can be worn during a night out on the town or even at Church [that is, if you still go]. They coordinate well with light or dark colored tops as well. Faint designs such as light pinstripes or a herringbone pattern can make an otherwise dull garment more stylish. Try to stay away from cuffed bottoms though, as this will give you a heavier look.

8. Khaki Pants – Just because you can’t always wear jeans. Avoid pleats and a tapered cut. Since these aren’t your father’s pants, definitely stay away from an elastic waist. Opt for a softer cotton fabric for comfort and a darker khaki color for maximum wearing opportunities, from the golf course to your office.

9. Winter Coat – For those harsh winters or just a cold day, winter coats can vary from a ¾ length trench to a double-breasted pea coat. These jackets possess similar traits, as their functionality is adept for both business-formal or casual Friday attire. Please note that ski jackets are not an acceptable substitute.

10. Black Loafers – Out of your whole outift, the shoes can tell most about you. Go for a rounded-toe and leather sole for a smoother look. You might pay a premium for quality genuine leather, but it’ll be well worth it. Your waist line and neck size might change, but your foot won’t, so invest in quality footwear. Keep shoe trees in them and give them an occasional polish to maintain a spit shine.

These ten basics are pillars you can craft your wardrobe around. You can still create individual style by complementing your various garments carefully. Basic rules of paying attention to fabric, material, color and fit still apply. As you would with your car and stereo equipment, clothes require maintenance and care to preserve their clean look, so be sure to read the care label for instructions. Above all else, just remember it’s the person who makes the clothes and not the other way around.

50 (Mostly Harmful) Ways to Leave Your Lover

We’ve all been there: the painfully over-done relationship that neither party has the guts to end. If you’ve been in a dead relationship for a while, or if you’ve been cheated on and can’t get over it, maybe a nice creative break up is just what the doctor ordered. The Paul Simon song didn't really spell it out, but this list sure does.

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