This Just In: Journalist Writes Own Obit
Posted Last Week
I happened across this just now, and it made me teary-eyed, and I didn't know the gentleman.
I thought you might like to read journalist Mark Mooney's autobiographical obituary, entitled 'My Last Byline'.
I think that man was a true mensch.
On the Vanity of Earthly Science
Posted Last Week
The advert on the top of my page says, '
'Rapid Release Gels: have laser-drilled holes that release medicine fast.'
O tempora, o mores. This is why we have technology and civilisation, people: so that a pharmaceutical company can use lasers to drill holes in an analgesic.
Here endeth the lesson.
This Just In: Geisel Held Hostage in Culture Wars
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
In case you haven't heard, there's a flap in the US of A today. (In other words, it's Friday.) Among other issues, there's a lot of fussing because a Massachusetts librarian said Theodor Geisel, aka 'Dr Seuss', was racist. There were howls of protest.
Our beloved children's author, racist? This is just [fill in epithet of choice for someone you disagree with] idiocy, right? Dr Seuss is about truth, justice, and down with Grinches, or some such. 'A person's a person, no matter how small...' and like that. Racist, pah!
Try these cartoons on for size:
Or this film he made on the government's dime during World War II, with the help of Frank Capra, in which soldiers are urged not to be fooled into thinking that people who dance Schuhplattler are innocent:
'Your Job in Germany':
Geisel was German American, and he might have been trying just a little too hard to seem 100% American here. (Not an excuse, just a possible explanation.)
There is also the amazingly weird 'Our Job in Japan', from 1945, script by Geisel, too:
'Our problem's in the brain inside of the Japanese head. There are 70 million of these in Japan, physically no different than any brains in the world. Actually all made of the same stuff as ours. These brains, like our brains, can do good things or bad things, all depending on the kind of ideas that are put inside...'
This seems less racist than, frankly, Stalinist. (Stalin was into Lamarckism, big-time.) Before the war, Geisel contributed a lot of anti-Lindbergh cartoons to PM, a very leftist newspaper. (Lindbergh was antisemitic and pro-Hitler.) I wonder if the conservatives who are mad at that librarian know that Geisel worked with commies? Hm.
Would they change their minds about Dr Seuss if they read 'The Seven Lady Godivas'? (One was named Mitzi.)
Note: If you ever have a time machine, go back and buy a copy of that book. They were remaindered for 25 cents each. As the cartoonist said, he wasn't exactly an erotic artist. Now, of course, they're collectors' items.
The librarian who turned down the First Lady's offer of free Seuss books had somewhat more complicated reasons for saying, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' to the offer. Her letter is more about educational grievances than censorship. You can read it here:
I particularly like the follow-up post on this same website by one Roger Sutton, who complains that 'I mean, I hate The Cat in the Hat for obscure childhood reasons of my own but that book is freaking everywhere, including every library serving children under the age of eight. And the last thing most libraries need are random book donations.'
The furore will settle down as soon as somebody else is '*wrong* on the internet', as Wowbagger so eloquently put it so long ago. And you may love Dr Seuss, or you may hate that Cat in the Hat as much as Mr Sutton. (I find him a big yawn.) But just keep in mind that, two days from now, we're going to put up a Create challenge that asks you to 'Be a Kid Again'. So think about what kind of kiddie lit *you* would enjoy, and write some. Maybe we'll tweet the links in the direction of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Or you could go read up on the Seven Lady Godivas...we could use a Guide Entry, Bluebottle...
DG's Saturday News Chuckle
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
As the man said, the situation is hopeless, but not serious. Icy North's right: we need a laugh.
It isn't often that these TV satirists make me laugh out loud. I may agree with their sentiments, but on the whole, I usually shrug and nod.
But Bill Maher has nailed this issue so well, I found myself laughing hysterically. Not only has he identified a delicious irony in the current political situation, but...oh, heck: his fake Southern accent is the funniest thing I've heard in a month. See what you think:
As rants go, this one is a classic.
Note for furriners: 'States' rights' is an age-old argument about centralised versus decentralised power in the United States. It goes all the way back to the writing of our constitution. In fact, the first factions were Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Historically, though, the states' rights supporters have been conservatives wanting to stem the tide of change by appealing to local tradition on everything from child marriage to fluoride in the water. And it's true: local leaders, such as the mayor of Pittsburgh, are now fighting the federal government in *favour* of such 'liberal' issues as dealing with climate change.
In case you're bored with politics, here's a less controversial video that might put a smile on your face. Because if you hate cats and babies, why are you on the internet?
Disaster Area Concert Coming Up - Venue Saturn
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
Cassini Saturn tweets:
Join us at 1 p.m. ET today to see the #GrandFinale science still in store, on http://youtube.com/nasajpl Tag Qs #askNASA
#10Things to know about @CassiniSaturn’s glorious demise on Friday. #grandfinale https://go.nasa.gov/2f0PiLc
Apparently, NASA are taking a page from the Hotblack Desiato playbook. There's going to be a crash, because. . . why not?
Katie Mack‏Verified account @AstroKatie
Important facts about @CassiniSaturn's #GrandFinale, including the fact that it won't so much "burn" as "melt furiously while glowing"
Also, boybeing meets girlbeing under those rings, and then they explode for no adequately explored reason. My physicist sister lets kids hurl pumpkins from a trebuchet, who am I to criticise? Geeks love watching things go boom and splat.
This is space history, and would vastly entertain the 10th Doctor. If you're feeling poetical about it all, you're not alone. Please enjoy this opera aria, sung magnificently by the USS Voyager's holographic doctor. Robert Picardo has a superb voice.
And go watch the show on Friday.
Distance from Saturn
Velocity relative to Saturn
Velocity relative to Earth
But it was updating as I copied...counting down to its death...sniff...
Kind of the saddest statement:
'Because Saturn is so far from Earth, Cassini will have been gone for about 83 minutes by the time its final signal reaches the Deep Space Network's Canberra station in Australia on Sept. 15, 2017.'
Awww...now you know you have to watch it. Out of respect. Well done, little robot...
Here's the timeline of final events:
And go look on Twitter, #GrandFinale. Those pictures are awesome.