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Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 36,553

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Afrofuturism: where space, pyramids and politics collide

In times of economic and political crisis popular culture tends to turn to the fantastical, providing an escape from the harsh realities of life. However, what is usually represented as Utopian in mainstream science fiction is often culturally European with a story that frequently revolves around a white male character. Even when depicting "multiracial" future societies, culturally the tropes of that imagined culture are regularly not representative of the races seen. If we accept that all humanity will be present in the future, why is it that non-European cultures seem to disappear once we get through the Earth’s atmosphere?

In 1993, Mark Dery created the term Afrofuturism to describe science fiction by African-American writers such as Samuael R Delaney and Octavia Butler, whose work "treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriate images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future". The term is now used to describe works that explore black experience in the science-fiction genre. However the ideas and aesthetics that form Afrofuturism go back further than the work of these authors, with Afrofuturist elements being found in music, art and film. Afrofuturism also goes beyond spaceships, androids and aliens, and encompasses African mythology and cosmology with an aim to connect those from across the Black Diaspora to their forgotten African ancestry.

If there was ever a figure who was the embodiment of Afrofuturism it would be Jazz musician, Sun Ra, although to place him within the borders of a musical genre does not do him justice as an artist. With no legal birth certificate, it is believed he was born in the Jim Crow state of Alabama. Sun Ra created a mythical, ethereal persona that merged science fiction with Egyptian mysticism, producing an otherworldliness that matched the music he made from the 50s to his death in 1993. Adding to his legend, he also claimed to not be of this Earth, explaining:

I never wanted to be a part of planet Earth, but I am compelled to be here, so anything I do for this planet is because the Master-Creator of the Universe is making me do it. I am of another dimension. I am on this planet because people need me.

When one considers the social position of African-Americans during this period and their violent exclusion from society, leading to an overwhelming sense of otherness, believing oneself to be from Saturn doesn’t seem that far-fetched. In fact, it expertly communicates the confusion and alienation of the black male experience in 20th century America.


Behind the fences of the Smithsonian's African American museum (Video)

It is fair to say that Charlie Yetter works in construction. It would be more precise to say he’s a senior project manager at McKissack & McKissack. But ask Yetter what he does for a living, and his answer might surprise you.

“When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m working on probably the most significant project, and the most recognizable project, in Washington, D.C. And it is,” Yetter said. “Not only does it have historic value, but it has all kinds of design construction challenges that have just been tremendous to be involved in.”

Yetter is working on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, a $500 million project whose scale can hardly be discerned by passers-by watching the construction cranes operate from behind fences on the National Mall.

The project made national news a few weeks ago, when construction crews arranged to shut down part of Constitution Avenue to cart in two permanent exhibits that will be part of the museum. The exhibits, a 77-ton segregation-era railway car and a guard tower from The Angola prison in Louisiana, were so big that they had to be installed before the museum’s walls or roof goes up.


Gaia 'billion-star surveyor' lifts off

Source: BBC

The 740m-euro (£620m) observatory lifted off from the Sinnamary complex in French Guiana at 06:12 local time (09:12 GMT).

Gaia is going to map the precise positions and distances to more than a billion stars.

This should give us the first realistic picture of how our Milky Way galaxy is constructed.

Gaia's remarkable sensitivity will lead also to the detection of many thousands of previously unseen objects, including new planets and asteroids.

The satellite is now travelling out to an observing station some 1.5 million km from the Earth on its nightside - a journey that will take about a month to complete.

Gaia has been in development for more than 20 years.

It will be engaged in what is termed astrometry - the science of mapping the locations and movements of celestial objects.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25426424

Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and Conan Share A Lyft Car

Rebecca Judd smacks down newsreader Tony Jones on live TV


I'm in love with her accent, though....

Five ADFA army cadets who saw sex with female on Skype expelled (Australia)

THE five army cadets who tuned into Skype to watch their mate have sex with an unsuspecting female cadet will be expelled from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

Corey Parker, Damian Mahon, Zach Fitzgerald, Jackson Fysh and David Pace viewed the action on Skpye on a computer screen in a room nearby as their comrade Daniel McDonald had sex with an air force cadet known as "Kate'' on March 29, 2011.

The cadet who organised the live screening, Dylan De Blaquiere, joined the five to watch the show.

Both McDonald and De Blaquiere have left the academy after being convicted for their criminal actions and it is understood that the five voyeurs have been told that their probationary appointments would be terminated next month.

The third-year cadets were issued with "show cause'' notices in September this year, more than 30 months after the so-called "Skype incident'', and each one has failed to have their expulsions overturned.

During their trial Police alleged that McDonald had arranged to be "friends with benefits'' with the 18-year-old female cadet, where they would have casual sex provided no one found out about it.




If This Rich Kid Has ‘Affluenza,’ Then We’ve All Got ‘Negrobetes’

Ethan Couch, a wealthy teen from the state of Texas, was charged with vehicular manslaughter after he killed four people while he was driving drunk. He was found guilty, but Couch won't be serving any prison time because he suffers from an affliction called "affluenza."

Affluenza—a hybrid of the words "affluent" and "influenza"—his lawyer argued successfully, is the "disease" of being so rich that you have essentially never had to suffer the consequences of your actions.

So what were Couch's consequences for stealing beer from a Wal-Mart with his friends, driving a pickup truck intoxicated at almost three times the legal limit for an adult and killing a woman whose car was broken down, two people who came to help her and a passerby? Probation, Time.com reports.

"He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way," said psychologist Gary Miller, who was assigned to evaluate Couch. "He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle."

My colleague Keren Johnson was outraged and messaged me shortly after reading the story. "Affluenza defense?" she wrote. "Why is being too rich a defense, but being too poor is not? Not that anyone should base illegal behavior on economic status, but don't people tend to find themselves engaging in illegal activity when there's not enough money, food, shelter, etc. ... not when there's an abundance?"


The Danish are way, way ahead of the times...

A stage performance combining the best parts of A Christmas Carol with Moulin Rouge?? Oh God, yes, please!

Those looking for a unique experience this festive season may want to check out Warehouse 9’s Christmas-themed Burlesque show Moulin Scrooge – Xmas Cabaret.

This playful take on yuletide combines the wry eroticism of burlesque with the traditional, festive aesthetic of Christmas in a delightfully avant-garde performance guaranteed to provoke, titillate, and rouse your senses.

Blending the semi-sordid with the sacrosanct, fans of art and eroticism alike will be able to appreciate this iconoclastic extravaganza.

Guests will be treated to bawdy variations on classical Christmas characters, including the Dickensian ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, alongside a slough of original creations, male and female.

This show elegantly straddles the line between smart and smutty, leaving something for everyone to enjoy.

Leave the kids at home and spend a night under the mistletoe with this gaudy, self-parodic performance full of lace, satin, skin, and make-up, sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you with visions of sugar plum fairies (and other types of fairies) dancing through your head.

Beware – attending this show is sure to put you on the ‘naughty list’.


Why do New Yorkers get to have all the fun?

Coed Naked Yoga Is Coming to Chelsea

New York's unclothed yoga scene is no longer just for dudes. Chelsea's Le Male Yoga — which, as the name suggests, previously specialized in naked yoga for men — is now Bold & Naked Yoga, a studio that also provides all-female nude classes, as well as some for "co-ed groups and seniors." (For now, the 55-and-up offering is all male, though we suppose there's nothing stopping more mature women from attending one of the new mixed courses.) Joschi Schwarz told DNAinfo that the no-guys-allowed sessions will involve "a little more in emotional psychologies, to really help women to feel good about themselves."

As for the coed sessions? Those seem to be just for fun — but don't get too excited, straight people: "If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place," declares the Bold & Naked website. Schwarz explained, "I know sexuality is always in peoples' minds and I have a feeling that a lot of people don't know that yoga has nothing to do with sex at all." It's actually about "sensuality." "When you get rid of the clothes, you get rid of the labels — and that's a beautiful thing," Schwarz said. So this probably means that new students should leave their cheesy "Coed Naked Yoga" T-shirts at home.


Kendrick Johnson family holds rally after filing complaint about missing organs

Atlanta (CNN) -- The parents of Kendrick Johnson, whose death this year created a mystery that has gripped a South Georgia town, held a rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday, a day after filing a complaint with the state about the handling of their son's body.

The "Who Killed K.J." rally had several scheduled speakers, according to a news release from the Johnson family, but the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Joseph Lowery -- both of whom were slated to address the demonstrators, the family said -- never spoke. That didn't stop more than 100 protesters from assembling at the Capitol before noon.

Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at his high school in Valdosta, Georgia, on January 11. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy and ruled the death accidental, but his family questioned the ruling and had his body exhumed for a second autopsy.

At the second autopsy, it was discovered that his organs were missing and his body cavity was filled with newspapers, contrary to industry practice.

The family's complaint, filed Tuesday with the Georgia Board of Funeral Service, a division of the secretary of state's office, alleges that Harrington Funeral Home mishandled Johnson's body and specifically accuses director Antonio Harrington of helping obscure the teen's cause of death.

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