Friday, March 25, 2011
This information apparently has just been released. I have not been able to find any references to this cosmonaut.I remember Komarov and I remember the flight. In 1967, I was avidly following every single bit of space news, and it did make the evening news on TV. What I also remember, though, was that there was very, very little hard information released to the public – not surprising, considering the Cold War, and everything.
I cannot help but think that there is a certain similarity between this event and the loss of the Challenger. Though it was solidly denied at the time, there were pressures from within and outside of NASA which pushed --against the better judgment of NASA engineers--for launch of the "teacher in space" prior to the State of the Union address. Another example of science and politics not mixing...
If this story is true, it’s sobering….
Everyone seems to have a different opinion about copyright issues and whether YouTube hurts or helps music sales. (I'm guessing it probably hurts some and probably helps some.) The lack of a consensus has meant, in practice, everyone has a different standard. Last year, for example, there was no reaction from anyone to me posting Black-Eyed Peas videos. So, the only to find out what the standard really is today is to push the envelope, post away freely, and watch what happens next. If the envelope pushes back and you are forced to withdraw the videos, you know.
Apparently YouTube was aware, in seconds, what I was doing (they must have automated systems in place to detect this sort of thing now). This is their reaction:
Your video, Lady Gaga - Audience Interaction & "Boys, Boys, Boys" - Power Balance Pavilion - March 23, 2011 , may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:So, it appears they've decided that if they can't stop the practice, they will make money on the practice. If they can't control what sort of video you post, then you won't be able to control how your video is presented on YouTube (namely, what sort of advertising banner gets emblazoned, against your will, on your video).
•Entity: Sony ATV Publishing Content Type: Musical Composition
What should I do?
No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.
What can I do about my video's status?
Please note that the video's status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.
To me, this sounds like a perfect solution. Both sides get smacked, but both sides get what they really want: a piece of the action! In other words, a compromise!
Life on the Internet is turning out to be wonderful!
Their show is at the Community Center this weekend!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
CAPE TOWN – A race to rescue up to 20,000 endangered penguins from an oil spill in an isolated south Atlantic British island group was underway Thursday after a cargo ship ran aground.
Oil-slicked Rockhopper penguins were being collected and taken off three Tristan da Cunha islands to the main island to be stored in a shed for treatment, cleaning and eventual release.
"Five hundred Rockhoppers were brought ashore on Tristan this morning," Tristin da Cunha administrator Sean Burns said in an online statement.
But specialist cleaning fluid was in short supply and hinged on a second ship being chartered from Cape Town, a journey of several days over 2,800 kilometres (1,740 miles), after a salvage vessel arrived on Monday.
"A crucial next step is to confirm a second vessel to depart from Cape Town in the next few days with all the necessary equipment and supplies to clean up the birds, keep them healthy and hopefully return them to the ocean," said Burns.
"It will be a race against time," he added.
The composition is based on the art of Gottfried Helnwein. Apparently the art is composed mostly of large, photograph-like portraits (we ran out of time, and so didn't yet see the exhibit itself).
Anguish and misery seem to be the predominant emotions. There is also a martial aspect to some of the Dancers: some wore a kind of abstract uniform (looked vaguely naval). Initially, they wore bandages over their eyes. The limited vision they experienced could alternately be interpreted as illness or blindness: they indicated deep, but non-specific pain. Their pantomime suggested that their inner selves, the cores of their being, were external to their bodies (probably the source of their anguish).
Yet, after a while, there was a kind of recovery, which first started with removal of the bandages. A gorgeous display of two girls in a big wheat field appeared on a screen behind the dancers, and the anguish ebbed. But at the end, the wheat field vanished and the bandages returned.
Given the intense, internal nature of the emotions being expressed, it was odd that what kept returning to mind was a very specific landscape I remember from Australia in 2006. The Warrego Highway heads west across the Darling Downs, parallel to a railroad. Far to the west of the towns of Dalby and Chinchilla, the view is monotonous along the road and the railroad, and punctuated only by the curious singularities of isolated, three-pear cacti in the no-man's-land strip between the two thoroughfares.
The Darling Downs is huge. It's an agricultural area, but in 2006, the most brutal drought year in centuries, instead of its usual Wichita-Kansas-like rainfall, it received more like Yuma-Arizona-like rainfall: not consistent at all with successful farming. Even though I was there in late spring, there was very little new growth. Life was either threatened, battered, or gone altogether.
Cacti are American plants: they are not native to Australia, and so the only apparent reason the three-pear cacti remained in this hard and now-empty land was that they were aliens. Strangers. Isolated, singular aliens in a landscape of anguish and pain. Much like the dancers of "Silent Noise".
Yet the image of the wheat field conjured up new life: or was it old life? Was this the Darling Downs of the past, or of the future? In the end, it appeared to be cyclic. Cyclic. Reminiscent of Ecclesiastes! Both past and future.
"White Noise" will be on CORE's program again in the presentation "Awake My Soul" at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, April 21-23, 2011. More info at their Web Site.
I was trying to find pictures of that Warrego Highway adjacent to the railroad. The trouble is that people tend not to take photos of excruciatingly-tedious views. I certainly didn't waste any time on it when I was there, although the view put me in a certain mood. Here is the closest I've found yet.
Afterwards, I asked the dancers "who was that girl who was dancing between the two lines of slow-marching people?" They answered "oh, that was Anne" (meaning Anne David). I said, "no, not Anne, I know what she looks like, but the other one." No one seemed to have any idea what I was talking about. In any event, whoever she was, she had great expression. Anne did too, for that matter, and Andrew Hopper too. It was fun seeing Blair Cacanando in an unfamiliar way; not as the lead, but strictly as part of the ensemble.
A deputy prosector in Johnson County, Indiana, has resigned his job after it was revealed that in February, during the large protests in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union bill, he e-mailed Walker's office and recommended that they conduct a "false flag operation" -- to fake an assault or assassination attempt on Walker in order to discredit the unions and protesters.
Hollywood doyenne Elizabeth Taylor died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at the age of 79. Mel Gussow, the writer of Taylor's swiftly published New York Times obituary, died of cancer in 2005 at the age of 71, Nick Greene over at The Village Voice points out.
It's interesting: 'White Diamond' is Kylie Minogue's 2006 song that was written for her by Scissors Sisters. It's nice to see Scissors Sisters make the reference, and I wonder what the reference means to Scissors Sisters.
(I apologize for the popping on the sound track - I don't know what that is)
The blowout preventer designed to shut down a BP well in an emergency couldn't stop a gusher of deep sea oil into the Gulf of Mexico because a damaged piece of drill pipe got in the way, according to a federal report released Wednesday.
When the Deepwater Horizon rig crew lost control of the well in April, the force of rushing oil buckled a section of drill pipe, which then became stuck in the blowout preventer. The safety device was activated, but the mangled pipe made it impossible for shearing rams to close and plug the flow of oil.
...Had it worked, the blowout preventer might have averted the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The rig exploded April 20, killing 11 men and setting off a deep-sea leak that took months to stop. By the time the wellhead was capped in July, it had released more than 200 million gallons of crude into the gulf.
SAN DIEGO -- The illegal immigrants donned Marine Corps camouflage uniforms and military-style buzz cuts. The license plates on their van had been switched from Mexican to U.S. government plates. If anyone asked, they were Marines traveling to March Air Reserve Base.
But their ploy didn't take into account the possibility of being stopped by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was an ex-Marine armed with a simple question. The agent, S. Smith, asked the driver to tell him the birthday of the Marine Corps. The driver, Arturo Leyva, didn't know.
Border Patrol Agent "Smith knows the (Marine Corps) birthday is one of the first things taught to all Marines in basic training. At that time, BPA Smith knew Leyva's claim of being a U.S. Marine was false," according to a criminal complaint from a smuggling case filed last week in federal court.
A storm cell was crossing I-5 in Colusa County at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to KCRA Live Triple Doppler.
The cell was moving eastward.
The Colusa County Sheriff's Department and the Colusa Police Department said it was rainy and windy, but that they had received no reports of damage.
The National Weather Service has confirmed it was a tornado that hit the Colusa County town of Williams Wednesday.
Meteorologists describe the twister that ripped roof tiles from homes as a "small tornado" with winds between 65 to 85 mph.
The NWS says a funnel cloud was also spotted near Sutter, about 27 miles east of Williams, but did not cause any damage.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
This reminds me of that sports betting place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas - except that, with the U.S. debt clock, everyone ends up losing. (I hope that's not true - some investments, like a college education, usually work out well - but it makes you wonder sometimes.)
I understand Eva Peron's real ambition in life was to be like Elizabeth Taylor. I'm sure Michael Jackson wanted to be Elizabeth Taylor too. Heck, everyone wanted to be Elizabeth Taylor. But there was only one Elizabeth Taylor. So the pretenders had to satisfy themselves wrecking South American economies, and setting their hair on fire, and who knows what else.
The folks in Puerto Vallarta will be unhappy too – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton basically put the seaside town on the map, with “Night of the Iguana”. From what I understand, their Mismaloya haunt is a tourist attraction to this day.
I remember when I was a kid, and “Night of the Iguana” came out. I was hoping it was going to be huge science-fiction smash, maybe along the lines of Godzilla, but it was basically a lot of tempestuous romantic crap – BORING! – and it had hardly any iguanas in it at all.
And I guess Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t even in “Night of the Iguana”. I confused her with Ava Gardner. Shows you how much attention seven-year-olds pay. I guess she was the lurid eye candy just off-camera. No Liz Taylor; hardly any iguanas – what kind of movie could it be?
Wikipedia features this ditty:
By March 1964, months before the film's release, gossip about the film's production became the subject of a public parody when Huston received an Writers' Guild of America award for advancing "the literature of the motion picture through the years"; at a dinner where the award was presented, Allan Sherman performed a song, to the tune of "Streets of Laredo", with lyrics that included "They were down there to film The Night of the Iguana / With a star-studded cast and a technical crew. / They did things at night midst the flora and fauna / That no self-respecting iguana would do."We will miss Liz Taylor....
You get a brief look at the iguanas here. I'm wondering if that's the Rio Ameca, or Rio Mascota - by the tequila distillery perhaps?
I worry the emission rate has since increased, considering how many problems they have been having over there.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
"If Republicans vote to raise taxes, hell hath no fury like a taxpayer scorned," conservative commentator and pollster Frank Luntz told several hundred delegates attending a Saturday luncheon. "Don't you dare vote for those taxes."Well, no one likes to be scorned. Taxpayers and voters (not always identical groups) do not like being scorned, and if they think they are being ignored, they can lash out.
Nevertheless, the people have always been willing to have their representatives raise taxes if, by so doing, they get a piece of the pie too. It's not axiomatic that the people will always resist taxes.
The price of the Beefy Crunch Burrito had gone up from 99 cents to $1.49 and the man at the Rigsby Road Taco Bell drive-thru had just ordered seven.
The fast food customer was so disgruntled by the price hike he shot an air gun at the manager, displayed an assault rifle and pistol while in the restaurant's parking lot, fled as police were called, and pointed one of his weapons at three officers who pulled him over. Fleeing when they opened fire, he barricaded himself in his hotel room — all over $3.50 plus additional tax.
...Jones was taken into custody about 6:45 p.m. Sunday after officials used tear gas to get him out of the motel room where he was staying. Police recovered the rifle and two handguns, Benavides said.
...“The weird thing is,” Tillerson said, “He was here a week ago around the same time last Sunday. He yelled at me then too.”
Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.
"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.
Chavez, who also holds capitalism responsible for many of the world's problems, warned that water supplies on Earth were drying up.
"Careful! Here on planet Earth where hundreds of years ago or less there were great forests, now there are deserts. Where there were rivers, there are deserts," Chavez said, sipping from a glass of water.
Americans who were afraid to open their 401(k) statements during the recession are finding good news inside the envelope now: For the most part, their accounts have come all the way back and then some.
Nine in 10 of the popular retirement plans are at least back to where they were in October 2007, the peak of the stock market. Since the bull market began in March 2009, stocks have almost doubled.
And many investors who kept their nerve and continued putting some of their paycheck into a 401(k) during the market's worst months are now ahead.
Rubbish. Our “invasions” have in fact been liberations. We have shed blood and expended treasure in Kuwait in 1991, in the Balkans later in the 1990s, and in Afghanistan and Iraq—in our own national interest, of course, but also to protect Muslim peoples and help them free themselves. Libya will be America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation.Chait notes:
The point, of course, is that invasion is a neutral, descriptive term, one that can describe military action for either positive or negative ends. Kristol demands that we banish neutral terminology in favor of propagandistic terminology.By now, William Kristol is so addicted to warmaking that he is a menace to civilization. Kristol is certainly a menace to the United States of America. Who needs tyrants and dictators when people like Kristol are always ready to abuse the language on their behalf?
Last week, at Jetta's urging, I looked again through the magic glass of the Internet, and discovered they have auditions this weekend in Los Angeles. So, just like for "America's Got Talent" last October, Jetta is once again planning to audition in LA, but this time for Simon Cowell's "X-Factor". The challenge is figuring out how to get her (a retiree) there at the lowest-conceivable cost. I suppose she could walk to LA, but she'd better start now if she expects to get there in time. (Even though 'No One Walks in LA', no one said anything about walking to LA.)
Monday, March 21, 2011
On Facebook, Giorgio posted a provocative quote from Mike:
"Xanadu: I could eat a bowl of Alpha-Bits and crap out a better play."Well, like I say, "Xanadu" is too advanced for most mortals to comprehend properly. As a play, it seems deficient, but for dancers it's wonderful!
When I think "Xanadu", all I can think is Sandahl Bergman, the best dancer on Broadway in the late 70's! I think she's Muse #4 here, but Bob Fosse featured her better in "All That Jazz". I should get out my "Xanadu" DVD and check (the resolution is better on DVD).
As I've written, I think "Xanadu" had an outsized influence on Kylie Minogue, and indeed, an outsized influence on pop culture in general.
If it wasn't for Alpha-Bits, I don't think I could keep regular....
A week ago a relatively limited intervention probably could have sealed the rebels' victory, preventing a reeling Qaddafi from fully mobilizing his heavy armaments. But where do we expect to get from this now? It's not clear to me how the best case scenario can be anything more than our maintaining a safe haven in Benghazi for the people who were about to be crushed because they'd participated in a failed rebellion. So Qaddafi reclaims his rule over all of Libya except this one city which has no government or apparent hope of anything better than permanent limbo. Where do we go with that?Strangely-enough, none of these objections really bother me much. The logic of a Bush-style war in the Arab lands makes much more sense in the under-populated but oil-rich lands of northern Africa than it ever did in the heart of densely-populated Mesopotamia, particularly if we can keep ground troops out. By creating a client regime along the northern coast of Africa, we gain leverage without much sacrifice. We also ally ourselves with the forces of Arab revolution, rather than oppose those forces, which will help later on with relations with the new Egypt.
...Second, it's difficult for me to distinguish this from an armed insurrection against a corrupt autocrat that looked to be winning and then lost. That sort of thing happens a lot. Only in very specific circumstances is there any logic for us to intervene in a situation like that. I've heard people saying well, we took too long to stop the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and we didn't lift a finger to stop the genocide in Rwanda, so let's not make the same mistake this time. But these seem like preposterous comparisons. This is ugly and it's brutal but a lot of people getting killed in a failed rebellion isn't genocide. It's not. And unlike situations where violence can destabilize the larger region, in this case our presence seems more likely to destabilize the larger region.
...Finally, the talk of exit strategies is always a bit off the mark in these situations. Sometimes the stakes are high enough that the exit strategy doesn't have to be clear. The better question is this: can you maintain the initiative in getting to your goal. In this case, we go in and then we're stuck.
...So let's review: No clear national or even humanitarian interest for military intervention. Intervening well past the point where our intervention can have a decisive effect. And finally, intervening under circumstances in which the reviled autocrat seems to hold the strategic initiative against us. This all strikes me as a very bad footing to go in on.
Domestically, what I like is that this war seems to split the interventionist neo-cons (like Bill Kristol) from the more-isolationist cons (just about everyone else).
Many people dislike this Libyan war. Maybe that is a good sign. But much depends on the course of unpredictable events, and leaving Gadhaffi free to cause trouble may be a dangerous thing to do.
Here is something about the Alert Alaskan:
The call by the Arab League for Western military intervention in an Arab state — in this case asking that a UN “no-fly zone” be imposed over Libya – is not only without precedent but it puts in formal terms what Governor Palin stated three weeks ago should have been America’s response to the political and humanitarian crisis now unfolding there.The only alert one here is Ahmed Chalabi, who must be the most-adroit geopolitical surfer in world history who has yet to meet a firing squad or permanent exile. Sarah Palin seems to think there is a war against domestic oil production, but the real problem is a lack of domestic oil. She seems to think behind every wave is a tsunami. Chalabi knows that there will be just one wave for awhile, so you have to ride it for all that it's worth. So, a Palin Doctrine would be absurd, but it might have its uses.
The former GOP vice presidential candidate was being interviewed on February 23rd on national television by Sean Hannity on a range of issues. On the Libya crisis, she proposed a no-fly zone to protect the armed and un-armed opposition to the Qaddafi regime. Mrs. Palin’s formulation had been blogged about for nearly a week when it was echoed by the man who, before the Iraq war, had led the Iraq democratic movement in exile, Ahmed Chalabi.
A long-time foe of Saddam Hussein who has emerged as a leading figure in Iraq’s democratically elected legislature. Mr Chalabi recounted in the Wall Street Journal how President George H. W. Bush’s 1991 call for a popular uprising against Saddam had been heeded by the Iraqi people, only to have Saddam then murder some 30,000 of them from helicopter gunships while the Western world stood by.
...More broadly, Mrs. Palin’s address in India will be another step in the growing outline of what might be called The Palin Doctrine. It contrasts sharply with the foreign policy being conducted, if that is the word, by President Obama, who is perplexing not only the Arab world, to which he reached out in his Cairo speech at the start of his presidency, but even his own supporters in the liberal camp, and many in between, who are upset by what might be called his propensity for inaction. It’s an inaction that suggests the Arab League won’t be the only institution that might find itself surprised by the logic of the alert Alaskan.
According to Stokes' "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" they were indeed American Robins! I guess Robins have more-intricate plumage than I was previously-aware.
Strange weekend, in some ways. For example, on a St. Patrick's Thursday night, Giorgio shaved his head. He didn't want to talk about it much, and had to wear a wig for the final three performances. I asked Karina what had happened Thursday night, and she said: "Well, there isn't much to say." So there!
There were some blunders. On Friday night, Michael, playing garage mechanic Joey Biltmore, was talking about the difficulty of predicting how women would react to being invited on a trip; even women like goody two-shoes Sarah Brown. Michael flipped the line, however, so it came out: "She's not a doll; she's a horse!" On Saturday night, in the final scene, Steve Isaacson, playing Nathan Detroit, meant to ask Arvide Abernathy whether he and his bride Adelaide could use the Save-A-Soul mission for their wedding, but instead he asked whether he and Sarah Brown could get married there, abruptly introducing an unanticipated plot twist. And, of course, on Sunday afternoon, Spencer Johnson, playing Big Jule, presented Steve Isaacson, playing Nathan Detroit, with his suspiciously-anonymous marker, which was supposed to be signed with an "X". On the marker, Megan had apparently drawn an illustration of a penis, another unexpected plot twist, which set both Spencer and Steve to giggling in a scene which was supposed to feature an element of menace.
But it was all in good fun, and we had an excellent run. Apparently it was the best-attended show so far this season: even better-attended than the well-attended "Chess".