New Worlds Weam » 2011 » September
 
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What a drag it is gettin’ old…

SkyHarbor, 2011/09/30 

Sort of in the manner of a Russian folk song (right down to the concluding ‘Hey!’), Jagger/Richards penned and recorded the minor classic “Mother’s Little Helper” way back in 1966. A personal Stones fave and a great pic too! ;-)

It was around this time that writer Tom Wolfe commented that “The Beatles want to hold your hand, but The Stones want to burn your town.”

‘nuf said.

Fermilab’s Tevatron shuts down…

SkyHarbor,  

AFP video: Era of US high-energy physics draws to end

“One small step back into the dark for [a] man, One giant leap backwards for Mankind…”

Well, Fermilab’s Tevatron particle accelerator/collider (‘atom smasher’ in common parlance) today has shut down its superconducting-magnets and closed its doors likely forever, ending the days of ‘big science’ in America for the foreseeable future and making CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) the only game on the planet for high-energy physics research.

I have nothing against CERN (except maybe for that recent neutrino report), and the LHC is clearly a superior machine, but I’m sad to see the Tevatron go. We’ve learned a LOT from that big machine.

So we have no manned space program and now our physicists have to go to Europe to get the ‘big stuff’ done, and America continues to slip backwards… pretty discouraging.

The broccoli me and you gathered was good.

Demonweed,  

This is my new favorite lip dub video . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehYoIKTsiV0

I hope it is uplifting.  Think about it, ’cause I do.

Some good news

Max,  

The rich getting richer, the poor poorer, global warming, overpopulation, resource scarcity… what’s the world coming too?

era_of_peace

Violence Vanquished

What I find really striking in the linked article is the trend starting long before the era shown in the chart, findings that belie the myth of the pacific life when man was close to nature.

The first was a process of pacification: the transition from the anarchy of the hunting, gathering and horticultural societies in which our species spent most of its evolutionary history to the first agricultural civilizations, with cities and governments, starting about 5,000 years ago.

For centuries, social theorists like Hobbes and Rousseau speculated from their armchairs about what life was like in a “state of nature.” Nowadays we can do better. Forensic archeology—a kind of “CSI: Paleolithic”—can estimate rates of violence from the proportion of skeletons in ancient sites with bashed-in skulls, decapitations or arrowheads embedded in bones. And ethnographers can tally the causes of death in tribal peoples that have recently lived outside of state control.

These investigations show that, on average, about 15% of people in prestate eras died violently, compared to about 3% of the citizens of the earliest states. Tribal violence commonly subsides when a state or empire imposes control over a territory, leading to the various “paxes” (Romana, Islamica, Brittanica and so on) that are familiar to readers of history.

Of course, now that I’ve posted this, some madman is probably pressing the button as I speak. Duck and cover!

Timeless Tiaras.

byronius, 2011/09/29 

One of the most bizarre facets of our culture.

?

SkyHarbor,  

Cartography of Nightmare

Max, 2011/09/28 

Well, I’ve just had a delightful little experience in the mind. Just trying to be a good parent and family man I was. Responding to some sort of government directive to ensure that my family was prepared for an unspecified disaster of some nature – a tsunami perhaps, maybe an earthquake – quite unclear now. I’d been looking at inscrutable maps from some government file. Charts of topography, nautical features, a shoreline close to home. At some point I climbed a nearby hill and scanned the horizon with binoculars. Just over there, around and behind that small hill and across a little inlet. The answer was there. The question was very murky, but the need to investigate this particular locale was pressing, and could be kind of fun, I thought.

At first I suppose I was driving, then apparently on a bicycle. I recognized a couple of features. A run-down looking intersection – three way with a stop sign coming upon a little-used rural road . Jog right on the road – but something limiting progress in that direction. A dead-end of some kind. High vegetation. No, turn left on a roughly paved but lonely road, little more than a private drive, but no signs saying keep out or no trespassing. Here it gets a little weird. Ben Stiller is in my head with a running monologue. No memorable lines, just a nervous patter… idle jokes about dangerous places one shouldn’t be poking into… anecdotes of rural tragedy. I’m walking now and I’ve got company. Good thing it’s a cop, but for some reason he doesn’t have a patrol car. He’s on foot like me. I give him some mumbo jumbo about my investigation to satisfy the preparedness crap. He’s impressed enough to urge me to continue the investigation. We continue down the road. It’s getting quite dark. The road curves around. Things don’t look promising. I get my hackles up. I suggest – or maybe it was he – that it might be best to turn around and investigate another day. But wait. There’s a building. Red and yellow faded paint and signage. It appears to be an old foreign-run convenience store or something, vaguely Mexican perhaps. A door hangs open and there is soft light inside. Everything getting nearly black outside of that doorway. The cop says he’ll take a look. I stand and wait.

Now it’s dead silent and black as pitch. Literally can’t see a hand in front of my face. The cop seems to be back because something brushes up against me. I hear a soft voice, almost a whisper, speaking in a strong foreign accent, “I… I… want to thank you…”

I start to say “you’re welcome” perfunctorily, when a terrified thought shoots through me. Who the hell is this and WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP!?!?

Awake in cold sweat.

Good time to go downstairs. Might just stay up a little while.

The weird thing is how recognizable that intersection was. And so close to home. Very weird place the mind.

Naqoyqatsi: “Primacy of Number”

SkyHarbor, 2011/09/27 

This is section 2/11 from Naqoyqatsi, and features Yo-Yo Ma on cello.

‘Naqoyqatsi’ is the 3rd and final ‘Concert Cinema’ entry in the “Qatsi Trilogy” by Godfrey Reggio & Philip Glass:

(1) [1983] Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance
(2) [1988] Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation
(3) [2002] Naqoyqatsi: Life as War

I had to jump through a few hoops to get the timing, editing and compression close to right, but I hope you’ll find it was worth it. There may be some copyright issues with this stuff, so if you’re interested, check it out soon just in case…

While the first two ‘Qatsi (Hopi for ‘Life’) entries featured extraordinary footage by DoP Ron Fricke, Naqoyqatsi uses mostly ‘found’ footage and then performs digital gymnastics to get the desired effects.

Rather than chop up a film into arbitrary segments as is usually done on YouTube, I’m dividing these into logical chunks based on the musical sections, so hopefully they’ll each stand on their own. I have all three films of the trilogy, so I’ll probably post more if anyone likes it and as time (and copyright restraints) permit.

I think it’s a cool sequence and a decent first ‘Qatsi entry. Enjoy!

A Pleasant Surprise.

byronius, 2011/09/26 

Homophobe reacts to DADT Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Blowing – watch more funny videos

“…I’m not covered in shit.”

You can cut the tension with a… rapier.

SkyHarbor, 2011/09/25 

All English speakers (and most others) know Will Shakespeare’s ‘Excellent conceited Tragedie’ of Romeo and Juliet… the archetypical tale of ‘star-cross’d lovers’.

Here’s an interesting tango-inspired modern interpretation (choreography by Youri Vàmos) of the ‘Dance of the Knights’ from Sergéi Prokófiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet (IMHO Sergéi’s R&J blows Tchaikovsky’s version out of the water)…

Romeo has crashed the Capulet’s masked ball. Tybalt ‘makes’ him and is seriously pissed-off at his uninvited appearance. Meanwhile, Romeo spots Juliet for the first time and is instantly smitten… I usually picture Romeo and Tybalt staring daggers at each other across the ballroom floor… Soon enough lads… soon enough!

Less than 2 minutes long, I love Prokófiev’s somewhat lugubrious groove here… an ominous foreboding of much worse to come… It is a masterpiece. Enjoy!

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