I got email asking me to promote this book on how God is evolving and getting better. Well, there wasn't a free review copy, so it's not likely that I'll be reviewing it any time soon. However, the web page for it is quite funny, for what it's worth.
For inspiring lounge lizards everywhere, for bringing Tiki to the American public, though we didn't deserve it, for making exotica a CD-classification category at your local record store, here's to you Martin Denny, may your hurricane glass remain ever full with a zombie. Space-age bachelor pad or exotica? Doesn't matter what you call it. As Boyd Rice said in RE/Search,
Once in a while somebody does something so personal, so much them, that it seems just completely separate from everything else. What Martin Denny did back then was completely different from anything people were doing. Later, after he became popular, a million people put out 'exotic' albums, but he was using these strange instruments and these uncliched sounds and I think it had a more direct appeal, was more genuine — at least to me. It was such a strange idea to combine primitive instrumentation with relaxing, easy-listening arrangements — can you imagine the mind that would combine those two?"
Oddly enough, my coworkers didn't know who Martin Denny was! I went around the offices with a handful of memorial MD CDs. Couldn't find too many takers. Left one with the barista at Wilde Roast.
McDonald's will pay you $1-$5 per radio play for a Hip Hop song that features their "food." Obviously they will have artistic control of the reference, so no dice with "Big Mac(tm) gonna gun you down\Heart attack zone under the Scot."
Another study finding it in breast milk in eighteen states. Although the rocket fuel connection is mentioned, ground water sources are also examined.
Lots of weird stuff! Like accidents with their nightwear, rat bites, and extended weightlessness. Huh? It's funny anyway, unlike the idiot British woman who followed me around the parking ramp this morning complaining that I had driven fast on the highway! Oh my goodness, next thing you know the Royal Family will be exposed as buffoons! To catch my attention previously she had stopped in traffic three times. I had just assumed it was another random idiot in a white Audi, not the same person blocking traffic repeatedly. Silly me.
Oh! That's different, right? It's a personal matter, not trying to make a political point. Just like abortions for the children of anti-abortion leaders. It's just different.
And the TSA still has no answer to how their system, shown to be worse than random, can work at all. Perhaps its purpose is not airport/airplane security?
I know everyone saw the peep diaramas in the Pioneer Press. But have you seen, drum roll please, Peep Library Research? Run in fear.
He walked into the museums, and put up his paintings. While dressed as an "British Pensionner" which should allow for enough room to bring the painting in. The Met spotted and removed the work right away, the MoMA, Museum of Natural History, and Brooklyn Museum pieces stayed up longer. You can find out more about Banksy at his website.
It all reminds me of the Turner Prize scandal (well, there's one every year, but I was thinking of the 2002 one) at which Banksy spraypainted "Mind the crap" on the steps.
There's also a discussion of this going on at plastic.com.
I've been sick for a few days. The twins' strep plus a touch of pneumonia and allergy to the antibiotics. Not too fun. Leni took decent care of me and watched the little ones when I couldn't.
Leonid Shebarshin, former head of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service (FSB), claims that Al-Qaeda is a notion, a myth tiec to Islam, to get at the oil in former Soviet muslim states. Here.
It's easy to see that the massive, monolithic AQ proposed shortly after 9/11 was a fiction, but what is there to the AQ story? Pure myth? A loose federation with some Osama and Pakistani Intelligence Service contacts? We were told a lot of fictions, of underground bases and nerve gas and plans to attack most everything. But where is the truth? How do we even find it out?
A good article in the City Pages last week. It strongly criticizes the overprotective new norm of childcare.
Thinking about this article, I was at the Children's Museum (St. Paul) on Sunday and noted all of the sorts of behavior that were mentioned in the article. I relaxed and let the gals have fun. They really didn't need me stressing over them. Clearly something I knew, but the article stressed it and brought it back to me.
Of course the news is full of the school shooting in outstate...
Well, I made it back to the US on Saturday early morning. Customs didn't take too long, but I definitely got the once over (people who know me typically don't go through security with me out of fear of getting the full treatment that I usually get). I like the airport beagles though. Very friendly. Of course they aren't needed if you set off the custom's department profile. What? Do I look like a drug dealer or something? I even have a nice new passport (old one filled up) without the more "interesting" country stamps and visas in it.
Anyway, noticing the large number of, well, large people at the airport reminded me that I had returned to the land of obesity and junk food. (I'll be polite, I'm overweight as well and at 6'6" not exactly a paragon of human minimal-impactness.) Eating in Argentina, I consumed these huge steaks, piles of fries, small salads, huge pizzas, and deep-fried empanadas. Just like the locals. Just like the thin locals. Obviously there is something more complicated that just quantity of food in play here. More thoughts on this at some later point.
The New Scientist (sort of Time magazine, with a touch of People and TV Guide, for the science set) lists the(ir) top thirteen unexplained topics in science. I'm happy to see the cosmic rays listed there, along with the horizon problem and dark matter & energy. There's also that odd European fettish for homeopathy and cold fusion, but even they're treated well in the article.
In not as happy news, the debate over the value of String Theory has made it into the mainstream press. Well actually, the debate is happy enough. The possibility that that time and effort is wasted isn't as happy. Weren't we complaining that Strings (and M-branes, etc., etc.) were untestable ten years ago?
So, I travel out of the country and look at the news from home?
Over one hundred prisoners have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why, that's worse that a Turkish prison!
Bush's budget cuts are nicely targetted at Blue States. See here for the discussion of Oregon's fate under the budget.
And the Senate votes to open the ANWR to oil drilling. The oil companies don't care too much since there isn't much oil there, leading us directly to the ANWR Development Act of later this year which will pay the companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pay Hummer owners to leave their engines idling.
Wolfowitz heads to the World Bank... Darn it, Bono was a reasonable choice.
We don't have to worry about Social Security because obesity will reduce life expectancy far enough to save money.
Okay! Enough on this topic.
I've been keeping Starry Night running on my laptop to help me learn my way a bit around the southern sky. It's been a while since I've spent time being a sky-gazer down below the equator. Such great constellations...telescope and microscope... It's as if the ancient Greeks never made it down here.
Anyway, it's been a crazy busy meeting so far. No chance to make it out into the field and return the dead phototubes we wanted to nab. Oh well, maybe during a less interesting session tomorrow. Hammering out the science is a good thing. A long time coming as well...
So, the southern sky, the Magellanic Clouds and the Southern part of the Milky Way are the most spectacular, but of course the moon is interesting to see this way also.
Soviet army fought the UFOs! Yes, that old standby of the Communist Party has fully transformed itself into a tabloid. But one with a world-recognized name.
It's been most of a year since I've down here, at the Auger Observatory campus. Town looks a bit different. Some new businesses, new house construction, and a couple of new complexes of cabins on Rte. 40 coming into town. It'll be a different sort of meeting, focusing on the science results rather than the hardware and initial calibrations. The array is a bit under half built, but we're looking to present science in August (at the every-other-year International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) which should not be confused with the International Committee of the Red Cross).
Hotel el Cisne, where I'm staying and which used to be the default place for the surface detector electronics folks to stay, has been bought by the local big guy who also owns the Rio Grande hotel and restaurant and a bunch of other local businesses. We had some bad experiences renting 4x4 trucks from him back in the early days of the experiment construction. A certain truck fire comes to mind...
It was a wet drive down from Mendoza yesterday. Rain and hail most of the five hour (I took the slower route) drive. Just a short pause as I went through San Rafael. If I get my talks pulled together this afternoon, might take a drive up in the mountains or go fossil hunting (though they can't leave the country).
The horse skull I hung (4 years ago?) in the SDE office remains up there. And the shocked looks when it first went up...
Not that you should follow the illegal instructions on that web page. But it does get you thinking about copyright... Of course, one almost has to ask about John Cage's 3'22" in this context. I think that is, however, a different matter, since it really is a piece of music, analog silence as it were as opposed to digital silence (genuine emptiness). But perhaps that's a matter for the philosophers among us?
Wow! Somehow missed it when it won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2003, but read all about it in the education section of the Guardian.
The Univ. of CO looks determined to find a way to get rid of Prof. Churchill. It seems that his opinionated rant was just too much for the reputation of the school (ignoring the football-player rapists and the ensuing coverup). Let's think about it though, he's claiming that at least some of the victims, working in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were "little Eichmanns," little bureaucrats enacting the deadly policies of their superiors. Is this crazy? Well, let's see, the Pentagon, they direct bombing campaigns from there. Okay, so someone working there is complicit in killings (justified or not). Check. How about the World Trade Center? I'm guessing that Mr. Churchill had the bankers in mind. International Finance, World Bank, moving money and resources from the third world to the wealthy first world. Connect those banks and multinationals with the Nigerian corruption, or the Brazilian rain-forest exploitation, picking two random examples, and you get into the territory of killing. But Eichmann? Genocide? Hmmm...not sure I want to blame folks working in a restaurant or investment bank in NYC of beaucratic involvement in genocide. But on the other hand, if we can write a paragraph or two discussing it, and come to a different conclusion then why is his conclusion so unacceptable as to require his dismissal (or death as several commentators have requested)?
I'm off to Argentina, to the Auger Southern Site (Malargue, Mendoza Province) for the Auger Collaboration meeting. It remains to be seen if I'll have a chance to post much here while I'm there. Good internet access, but the meetings will fill the days. We're discussing the first science results from the experiment. They'll be presented this summer at the international cosmic ray conference (ICRC) in Pune, India. After ten years working on the project, I'd be nice to see science results presented.
Anyway, let me know if I need to have some Argentine wine for you when I'm down there. I'll keep track and promise to do my best to drink it.
Continuing... The sexual harassment issue hits home. Okay, bad pun. Anyway, my dad did quite a bit with Habitat for Humanity in Hartwell, GA for a few years. It seems like a good bunch of folks overall, and it's sad to see the organization getting tightly connected with any individual, even the founder (or Jimmy Carter), if they need to be removed from their office.
In Florida. Literally neo-nazi. Brings a new meaning to Hitler Youth.
The whys and wherefores are at the UN's site. Locally, here in Minneapolis, KFAI is leading the celebration with 24 hours of women's voices. They're also hosting a program/concert Many Women, Many Voices at the Cedar Cultural Center tonight. Check it out!
Garlic breath? Too much perfume? Or the homeless? Who is to be removed from the library? Inquiring minds want to know.
My favorite Bethe story, apocryphal or not, is that after figuring out how nuclear fusion powers stars, tried to impress a date, at night, under the stars, with the "and no one but I understand how they work" line. Legend says that the date was unimpressed.
One of them at least...while working for Clear Channel.
Freed hostage shot by US troops. Brilliant move.
Uday may have been planning a coup in the hours leading up to the initial US attack. An interesting story. Not sure where to go with it. It doesn't seem to have caught much larger press attention.
With a 13 minute song devoted to the Loch Ness monster! The late 1970s have returned!
Think of this as only a lead, into books and music that you might otherwise not find. Secret Museum of Mankind.
The former interior minister dies before he can be interviewed. Meanwhile, the Gongadze murder investigation continues and the Ukrainian secret service seizes uranium at the airport. A busy news week in Kiev. New western European investmens are also headed to Ukraine. Seems like things might be improving...
We'll see, but it feels good to watch countries change for the better.
Wolves in for a Shock
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish wolves with a taste for domestic dogs could soon be in for a shock as an electrified dog-coat could soon be on sale in Helsinki shops.
The dog-coat sends 1,000 volts of electricity through a predatory wolf when it bites into the outer layer, but is designed to ensure the pampered pet feels no pain from the jolt.
Inventor Jussi Aro has already applied for a patent for the battery-powered device. He hopes it will be available in shops by autumn for dog lovers in Finland, where 20 to 30 dogs are killed each year by wolves.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Astonished German police picked up an 8-year-old boy at 3 a.m. who had accidentally set off to school thinking he was late, authorities said Thursday.
"He seemed to have got into a panic he was late and went off to school by himself with his rucksack," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Aachen. "You'd think the parents weren't looking after him, but that wasn't the case here."
Police found the boy as he was heading home after he discovered the school was still closed.
Image deleted by these folks. (mod 3/17/2005)
From our friends, whoever they might be, at pad34. Found in a conversation on plastic about hunting...
Well, I did a conference call and meeting. They were exciting.
Now, hearing Scalia ranting, wanting to execute nine year olds, that was even more fun. Reminds you of how important that next one, or two, or three, SCOTUS appointments will be.
And Ashcroft is now an official swear-word replacement at least on Aerolineas flights. Damn, it is a slow news day.
We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river" - Hunter S. Thompson
At first it seems just silly. After more thought it seems silly still, but no crazier than thinking of Paul Wolfowitz running the bank. Can't wait to see if Negativland reacts...
I found their paperwork this morning... Feudi di San Gregorio in southern Italy. They had a nice spread of wines from Campania and Puglia. The Rubrato (2001, $18) had a beautiful deep red color and wonderful flavor of cherries and spice. I also tried their whites, but don't have the notes to keep them straight (there were four different ones). Good wines with more fruit and flavor than the canonical, watery Italian whites. Their Serpico (2001, $70, not tasted) has gotten rave reviews and near-perfect scores from all of the big wine-rating-dudes.
My twin girls' (Mara & Sylvia) school is having a story writing contest. The theme for the kindergarten story is supposed to be "A Squirrel in Winter." Their stories are attached.
When Mara finished her story, I reread the assignment sheet to her. Some of the questions it asked were "Where does the squirrel live? What does it eat?" She added the last sentence of the story after that.
Mara the Squirrel was having a nice birthday party when the doorbell rang. It was her sister, Sylvia. Sylvia came inside and sat down for a birthday party. She was the first one to be coming for the birthday party. Then the doorbell rang again, and Squirrel welcomed Momma in, because she was the second one. Then the doorbell rang again. It was Lisa, and Squirrel gave her lots of hugs and kisses because she loved her so much and she missed her. The last person who came in—they heard the doorbell ring, and it surely was Dada. They had a nice birthday party after all.
And Mara the Squirrel lives in Sandpoint and eats nuts.
[Notes: Lisa is a former preschool teacher and much loved. Sandpoint is Sandpoint, ID where their grandmother had a cabin.]
The squirrel lived in a tree and she ate nuts and she buried nuts in the snow. One day, she was out looking for them and she could not find them because the man had taken them away.
The squirrel bumped into a snowman and the squirrel was so scared she ran away. The snowman started to grow. It was a person building the snowman. The person got the squirrel to go back there and help to put it back together. The snowman got built and didn’t get bonked again.
The man had taken the nuts away because he wanted the squirrel to find him. The squirrel found him and brought the nuts home. When the squirrel brought the nuts home, she was so tired she wanted to go to bed but she was hungry too and so she went to bed and she ate the nuts when she got so hungry.
She went to sleep. Then she went outside again. And she saw the snowman was melting. It was melting because the sun was up and it was spring.