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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 34,022

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Michael Stipe: ‘Are we that warlike, that childish, that afraid?’

At first glance Coupland's work appears to be Op Art, abstract black dots, as in this detail from The Poet. Photograph: ©Douglas Coupland

As I return to New York City from a summer in Europe, two days before the 12th anniversary of 9/11, I glance up to see the Tribute in Light – two ghostly, beautifully impossible shafts of light representing the World Trade Centre towers. Before these shafts of light stands the now single-finger gesture of the Freedom Tower, dominating the skyline just as the Twin Towers did. A sliver of new moon floats nearby. The relevance of these symbols brings me, well, back home. I’ve lived in NYC since 1987, 1993 or 1997, depending on which government agency you ask.

On the morning of 9/11, I was asleep in my apartment on Jane Street in the Meatpacking District, just north of Ground Zero. I received a phone call saying New York was under a terrorist attack and that I needed to leave as soon as possible. I sat up in bed and heard the sirens outside my bedroom window. I looked down at my naked legs, and said out loud, “Oh fuck.” My notion of home had suddenly changed. But what is home, anyway? Cue the Gang of Four song, At Home He’s A Tourist. I’ve felt that way about everywhere I’ve lived since the age of seven, when I first moved from the States to Frankfurt, Germany, with my military father and family. My life has been nomadic by both necessity and choice. I’ve looked at my homes as “bases” –places I return to when I’m away from a home-like base. I know that sounds Arthur C Clarke, but it’s true.

... But on a smaller scale, as on smartphone screens, The Poet become a chilling image of a person falling to their death from the Twin Towers. Photograph: © Doug Coupland

Where do we locate home inside ourselves? What images go so incredibly deep that, like it or not, they define our world, our inescapable home? With a small, powerful set of images, Douglas Coupland actually manages to playfully (how did he pull that off?) remind us of our collective 9/11 moment – the act that unzippered the 21st century in most of the world, and changed my notion of home and safety forever. Coupland’s at first seemingly Op Art paintings are just black dots – abstract, weirdly familiar. But then you look at them on your iPhone (because you’re going to take a pic and post it … this is 2014, after all) and you have the ahhhhhhh moment when a chill runs down your spine and you realise that it’s them: the jumpers. It’s him: the boogeyman. Doug offers us the choice to either see or not see these deeply internalised images. Having that choice is what enables us to survive from day to day without going nuts.

His images also remind me that nobody really knows how to look downtown any more without feeling, in some way, conflicted. Every time I see the Freedom Tower, I think of “freedom fries” – the term coined when the US wanted to invade Iraq, and France objected. Anything attached to the word “French” in the US was then relabelled with the word “freedom”: freedom toast, freedom fries, freedom kiss, for fuck’s sake. French wine was banned, French people were spat upon, their heads in photographs replaced with heads of weasels. Forget the Statue of Liberty and where it came from. It was a disastrous response—a horrid turn on the formerly leftist act of boycotting as protest. I’ve never been more embarrassed by my country, (except when we re-elected George W Bush and Dick Cheney). I largely blame the media for this egregious abuse of power and influence.



Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest






Minimum wage

Thursday Toon Roundup 2- CONgress and GOP



Thursday Toon Roundup 1: War for Peace

Ancient swamp creature had lips like Mick Jagger

Sir Mick Jagger has a new animal named after him. Scientists have named an extinct swamp-dwelling creature that lived 19 million years ago in Africa after the Rolling Stones frontman, in honor of a trait they both share—their supersized lips.

"We gave it the scientific name Jaggermeryx naida, which translates to 'Jagger's water nymph,'" said study co-author Ellen Miller of Wake Forest University. The animal's fossilized jaw bones suggest it was roughly the size of a small deer and akin to a cross between a slender hippo and a long-legged pig.

Researchers uncovered the fossils—consisting of multiple jawbone fragments—amid the sand dunes and eroded rock of a remote site in the Egyptian desert.

The creature belonged to a family of extinct hoofed animals called anthracotheres. Jaggermeryx is one of six species of anthracotheres found at the site. What distinguished it from other members of this family was a series of tiny holes on either side of its jaw that held the nerves providing sensation to the chin and lower lip.


Toon: Testing Roger's Logic

New 360 degree Martian Panorama

Hey, it’s Mars in your browser! Panning around this scene that the Mars Curiosity rover captured earlier this month is the next best thing to being on the Red Planet.

Close by the rover’s is the terrain that proved far more challenging for mission planners than anticipated, and further in the distance you can see mountains — including the ultimate destination for this mission, Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons).

The panorama, done by Andrew Bodrov, is based on pictures that Curiosity took during Sol 739 of its mission on Mars, which began in August 2012.

interactive pano at link:


First evidence for water ice clouds found outside our solar system

A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune -- but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now.

Their findings are published today by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

At the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, Faherty, along with a team including Carnegie's Andrew Monson, used the FourStar near infrared camera to detect the coldest brown dwarf ever characterized. Their findings are the result of 151 images taken over three nights and combined. The object, named WISE J085510.83-071442.5, or W0855, was first seen by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer mission and published earlier this year. But it was not known if it could be detected by Earth-based facilities.

"This was a battle at the telescope to get the detection," said Faherty.


'Solid' light could compute previously unsolvable problems

Researchers at Princeton University have begun crystallizing light as part of an effort to answer fundamental questions about the physics of matter.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal -- they are transforming light into crystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together photons, the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.

"It's something that we have never seen before," said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. "This is a new behavior for light."

The results raise intriguing possibilities for a variety of future materials. But the researchers also intend to use the method to address questions about the fundamental study of matter, a field called condensed matter physics.

"We are interested in exploring -- and ultimately controlling and directing -- the flow of energy at the atomic level," said Hakan Türeci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and a member of the research team. "The goal is to better understand current materials and processes and to evaluate materials that we cannot yet create."



Kochs backing out of blue-state Senate races

Sorry Charlie (and David): It turns out there are some things money can’t buy, like Senate races in liberal states. And that means the Democrats just might keep control of the Senate.

The Koch brothers have learned this the hard way. After spending big in Oregon to boost their favored candidate, she continues to lag in the polls, so they’ve now dropped plans for additional spending. The Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore., reports:

Freedom Partners’ super PAC, the Virginia-based group affiliated with oil and gas magnates Charles and David Koch, confirmed Friday that it has canceled all the television ad time it had reserved in October to influence Oregon’s U.S. Senate race.

Freedom Partners’ nonprofit affiliate has strongly criticized incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in TV ads throughout August, providing a big outside boost to the campaign of GOP challenger Monica Wehby.

Freedom Partners spokesman Bill Riggs declined to provide the exact size of the October airtime reservation it was canceling, but it was expected to total at least $1 million.

Riggs also declined to provide a specific reason for the pullback.

Well, here’s a theory on why Freedom Partners is giving up on the Oregon Senate seat: In the last poll, from Rasmussen Reports — which if anything leans Republican — Wehby was trailing Merkley by 13 points. That’s consistent with Merkley’s strong lead in previous polls. In early August, Freedom Partners committed $3.6 million to ads attacking Merkley, so that means it likely spent around $2 million or more in one month and was unable to move the needle.


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