A blog about societal, cultural, and civilizational collapse, and how to stave it off or survive it. Named after the legendary character "Crazy Eddie" in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye." Expect news and views about culture, politics, economics, technology, and science fiction.
Took some footage from The Academy's semifinals run and put it together! The Academy is a drum and bugle corps based out of Tempe, Arizona. They are presenting their show "Drum Corps Bride". The Academy advanced to Finals for the first time in the corps history with a score of 87.225. For more information about The Academy or information on how to audition you can find it on their website here: https://arizonaacademy.org/programs/t... Most of the footage is focused on the guard. I was mainly trying to record my girlfriend who is part of the guard so some other moments might have been missed.
Follow over the jump for Halloween drinks from Tipsy Bartender to toast the bride and groom.
National Candy Corn Day is observed annually on October 30th.
Candy Corn was created by George Renninger of Wunderle Candy Company in the late 1800s. He created this sweet treat to represent the bright colors of corn kernels. Originally, Candy Corn was yellow, orange and white, but it has become popular in other colors as well.
This confection was originally made by hand using corn syrup, sugar, water, marshmallows, fondant and carnauba wax (a wax made from the leaves of a palm tree), but it is now produced using machines. The original ingredients are still used in the recipe.
The biggest candy corn trend going on this year is Candy Corn Pizza. Based on the following two videos, I think it's something of a troll. Just watch We Tried The Candy Corn Pizza Trend from BuzzFeed Video to see why I think so.
Based on a viral tweet, we decided to taste test the candy corn pizza (literally a pizza topped with candy corn and then cooked).
"Candy Corn Pizza -- it's not as bad as you think" sums up the positive reactions by the candy corn lovers. At least it didn't make them hate candy corn.
To celebrate both the anniversary and the Halloween weekend, I'm sharing two of the more original and better executed American witch dances inspired by Die Wolfshäger Hexenbrut/The Wolfshaeger Witches Brood dancing to "Schüttle deinen Speck"/"Shake Your Bacon." First, Witches Dance by Gypsy Tribal Dance.
I think the first was better executed with more original additional choreography, while the second was danced with more showmanship and enthusiasm, but both worked for me. Congratulations to both groups and Happy Halloween to them and my readers!
Song written by Danny Elfman for "The Nightmare Before Christmas film" directed by Henry Selick!
That song got an enthusiastic reaction from me, which I left as a comment at Infidel 753's blog.
The singers certainly put the Gothic in Gothic Lolita!
I found two other Halloween songs on their YouTube channel, "Your Own Personal Jesus," which they credit to Marylin Manson (the song is really by Depeche Mode) and Hocus Pocus, which they just put out yesterday. I plan on using "This is Halloween" and "Hocus Pocus" on my blog. Last year, it was Dancing German Witches. This year, it's Singing Spanish Witches!
"I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written by Jay Hawkins, whose recording was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 1993, Bette Midler starred with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in the Walt Disney film, Hocus Pocus. The Sanderson Sisters covered the song & this is our humble tribute!
Go get 'em, singing Spanish Witches!
I would have stopped here, but then I saw their rendition of "Your Own Personal Jesus" and couldn't resist posting that here, too.
Song written by Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), released on 28 August 1989. Since its release, the song has been covered by numerous artists including Marilyn Manson or Johnny Cash. This is our Halloween Tribute about that song.
This appealed not only to the horror and rock fan in me, but also the marching arts geek -- uniforms, marching, and equipment work. Now, if only they could have stayed in step the whole time, it would have been perfect.
Before I leave my readers for today, I note that Broken Peach also sings Christmas songs. Maybe I'll post one of them for Yule this year. Stay tuned. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!
For the first of five Halloween posts I promised yesterday, I'm sharing videos of two marching bands that will be participating in next year's Rose Parade playing "Thriller," the dance theme for all zombies.*
First, one of the best, if not the best, high school marching bands in Japan, Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School playing "Thriller" as they march and dance down the street.
I'm always amazed at what a good sound they get while they move around so much.
Santiago High School, The Pride of Santiago, Sharks Marching Band (B.O.S.S. - Bands of Santiago Sharks) performing to Michael Jackson's Thriller at the Los Angeles County Fair High School Marching Band Parade Competition on Wednesday, September 23rd 2015. Leading the BOSS are military style drum majors Jory Dali and Naveed Zaman.
Not only did the B.O.S.S. play "Thriller" on parade, they made it the theme of their field show the year before.
Santiago High Marching Band and Color Guard performed their Thriller halftime show on October 24, 2014. It featured songs by Michael Jackson. The field show is great, but the best moments happen at 5:16 in the video. You won't want to miss it! AWESOME JOB, Santiago! Video provided by B. Park. Band directed by Kris Parish and Joe Dudek. Color Guard directed by Corkie Keys.
That was fun. I'm looking forward to seeing both bands in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.
Stay tuned for more Halloween entries through the end of the month.
The Rachel Maddow Show's "An American Disaster: The Crisis in Flint" from MSNBC makes for a perfect transition from health to the environment with dashes of politics and crime to spice it up. It is nominated for Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis along with three other MSNBC news segments, which collectively account for four of MSNBC's five nominations, the fifth being Rachel Maddow's interview of Kellyanne Conway. Analysis and interviews are the two things MSNBC does well. I've written a lot about the Flint Water Crisis, but nothing since April. A trial of at least one of the officials responsible is going on now, so I should probably cover that.
The contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan has sparked outrage across the country. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is holding a town hall Wednesday night to discuss this problem. She joins Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
Follow over the jump for three segments from the town hall Rachel held in Flint.
I know I promised "a report on "The Rachel Maddow Show" winning two News and Documentary Emmy Awards, one for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis" for today, but I also promised "I'll keep an eye on it and report updates as events unfold" at the end of Kid Rock for Senate? I made the latter promise first, so I'm keeping it today. I'll get to the Maddow, the Emmys, and Flint tomorrow.
"... no, I'm not running for Senate," Kid Rock said. Turns out that all the while he was promoting — surprise, surprise! — his forthcoming album. With Kid Rock's would-be run now over, he will likely focus on his craft.
So it was just a publicity stunt. Even though that means I'll have a less entertaining time blogging about next year's congressional elections here in Michigan, I have to say I'm relieved. He would have caused a lot of disruption, both in the Republican primary and the general election and he would likely have been a joke as a Senator. I'm now much more confident that Senator Debbie Stabenow (who I've met) will defend her seat successfully next year.
Just the same, Republicans are still having a competitive primary. Both Robert Young and John James have filed and are raising money, with James raising more. As I wrote two months ago, Young looks better on paper, but James looks better in person. Speaking of "in person," here he is in I'm Running.
Impressive. The man has a future in politics, even if it won't be in the U.S. Senate.
As for Lena Epstein, she is now running for Republican nomination to the 11th Congressional District, so she's no longer a candidate for U.S. Senate.* That's a good thing for her, as first Kid Rock and now John James sucked the oxygen out of the room in the Senate race. Someone else could do it in the near future -- U.S. Representative James Upton from the 6th Congressional District. MLive reports that he is considering getting into the race as well. If so, he'd immediately be the front runner, although I don't think he has what it takes to beat Stabenow, either. If he gets in, I'll post an update. Stay tuned.
*On the other hand, it will make the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District more entertaining, although not as wacky as it was in 2012, when I posted about my volunteering experience in A-10s on parade. I don't expect any candidates to be either LaRouchies or Bad Santas!
When I showed "Food, Inc." to my students last week, I asked them which questions they had the must difficulty answering. The ones that stumped them that I hadn't already answered involved Joel Salatin, owner and operator of Polyface Farms. I can understand that. The man has a complex and effusive way of speaking that throws out a lot of concepts in a short period of time. It doesn't help that he also misuses words. He says "spacious" instead of "specious" and "mystique" instead of "illusion." The irony is that he has an English degree.
Is this the smartest man in the USA, or just a farmer with common sense? Please check out the documentary film "Food Inc.", and read Fast Food Nation. You deserve to know what you're eating. Note: for those who may be squeamish, please realise that the chicken you eat is no longer alive. This is a humane and relatively painless way of killing the animal.
Now time for the questions.
19. How does Joel Salatin, owner-operator of Polyface Farms, describe the advantages and disadvantages of industrial agriculture?
The advantages, which Salatin breezes through sarcastically, are that industrial agriculture grows food "bigger, fatter, faster, cheaper." That's exactly what industrial agriculture is supposed to do. The disadvantages are that it creates a lot of inefficiencies and externalities and removes the people who make decisions from the consequences of their decisions. As a result, "no one is thinking about E. coli, Type II diabetes, and the ecological health of the whole system." This also serves as an example of "There is no such thing as a free lunch," although there are better examples elsewhere in the movie.
20.What advantages does he give for his methods of organic farming? He’ll explain more after you watch the material for questions 21-23.
Salatin describes how his pasture raised cattle handle food and waste a lot more efficiently than cattle on feedlots. Salatin does not have to pay for the food and he does not have to pay to dispose of the manure. Instead, the natural way of doing thing takes care of both. As I sometimes tell my students, he manages to screw up a perfectly good explanation of "Nature knows best."
21. What ethical effects does he think the treatment of pigs as “a pile of protoplasmic material” would have on the treatment of people and other countries?
He thinks the people who do not respect "the pigness of the pig," will treat other people and other countries in the community of nations as disdainfully as they do the pigs and will try to control them the same way. The film then jumps to a segment about Smithfield Farms that supports Salatin's contention.
24.How do the views of the owner of Polyface Farms and that of the former owner of Stonyfield Farm differ when it comes to growth and selling to Wal-Mart?
Salatin says he absolutely won't sell to Wal-Mart. He thinks he will lose his integrity if he does, as he'll have to change what he thinks about his business, his product, and his customers. On the other hand, Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms thinks he absolutely has to sell to Wal-Mart for his ideas to have any effect. Watch him in Food, Inc. – Walmart's Going Organic.
What AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was to the energy industry, Robert Kenner’s Academy Award-nominated documentary is to big agriculture. Based on Michael Pollan’s bestselling book of the same name, FOOD INC. examines the outrageously unhealthy practices of corporations like Monsanto and Perdue, exposing how little we really know about what we put on our plates. A must-see for proponents of sustainable and organic farming movements and anyone concerned about the future of our planet.
Both Salatin's refusal and Hirshberg's eager collaboration are examples of "A value expressed and a decision made based on that value." It's a contrast I set up early in the semester, when I use Salatin as an example of someone who follows an ecological economics model and Hirshberg as someone who follows an environmental economics model. Both agree about the importance of sustainability in economics, but they disagree about how to achieve it. Salatin is setting up his own food distribution system, while Hirshberg is trying to reform the existing one. I'm on Hirshberg's side; if the system can be improved, then it should be. At least Salatin isn't doing what James Howard Kunstler advocates -- letting the system collapse first and hoping that something more sustainable will grow out of the wreckage.
That's it for today's observation of Food Day. Stay tuned for a report on "The Rachel Maddow Show" winning two News and Documentary Emmy Awards, one for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis.
On October 23rd get ready to go live before a studio audience on National TV Talk Show Host Day! Created to pay tribute to TV talk show hosts and appreciate their unique form of humor, entertaining stories, spontaneous wit and timely political jokes.
Talk shows come in a variety of platforms. Daytime talk shows provide a combination of current events, health updates, technology news, and entertainment. The later the hour, the more comedy the TV talk show host dishes out. From practical jokes, impersonations, and sketches to games, sidekicks and audience participation. Guests usually star in an upcoming film or made headlines for a stunt, good deed or unusual invention.
Each day we watch our favorite talk shows, and we laugh, cry, listen and learn. It is these great hosts that make the shows ones that we want to watch.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Watch your favorite TV talk show host and use #TVTalkShowHostDay to post on social media.
National TV Talk Show Host Day was chosen to be celebrated on The King of Late Night Television’s birthday. John William “Johnny” Carson was born on October 23, 1925. Carson was the host of The Tonight Show for thirty years (1962 – 1992).
The story begins when one of Greer's readers asks a question about the zombie apocalypse that Greer ignores. I decide to answer for him.
Me: Steve T asked "On archetypes that emerge in the fantasies of a civilization– What do you make of the ridiculous popularity of the Army of the Dead/Zombie Apocalypse archetype?" That's a topic that popped up at least twice on the old blog. I saved the comment threads on the zombie apocalypse in twoposts on my blog. I summarized most of the reasons in Zombies meet preppers on 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 3: "the rural-urban disconnect, the fear of urban hordes ravaging the countryside, a lack of faith in progress, a not so subtle racism, and a desire to shoot their fellow Americans." I almost wonder if the producers and writers read those two blog entries of mine for inspiration.
Greer could have been annoyed. Instead, he expressed gratitude.
Greer: Vince, thanks for this. I find zombies dreary beyond words, so am probably the last person to ask why they’re popular!
I continued the conversation with Greer (I don't remember Steve T acknowledging me).
Me: You're welcome. You may find the American media conception of zombies boring, but I was converted years ago to paying attention to the phenomenon, enough that I have an entire category of posts devoted to the zombie apocalypse on my blog. Your readers seem to be interested in the topic, too. Just like the two other times I documented conversations in your comments section, once the subject came up, your readers ran with it. I am very tempted to respond to them, but I think I will learn more by reading (listening) than I will by typing (talking). In particular, the connections to poverty and famine are new ones to me. Instead, I will merely note that the person most responsible for the idea of the zombie apocalypse, George Romero, died on Sunday. May he rest in peace and not rise from the dead to eat us.
Greer repeated that he found zombies boring, then changed the subject to George Romero and Christopher Lee.
Greer: Vince, oh, I know. I just find them so very dull! I was amused by the response to George Romero’s passing, though. It was reminiscent of what happened when Christopher Lee died — I heard a lot of jokes about how he’d be back from the grave in no time flat, having done so all those times before…
His tactic worked. I started changing the subject with him.
Me: I can see why people would make those jokes about Christopher Lee, but my friends were hoping that his war record would finally be unsealed so they could find out all the operations against the Axis in which he participated. No such luck -- still a secret.
That was it for my conversation about zombies, but it wasn't the end for the other readers leaving comments. Follow over the jump for them.
Just in time for its 100th Anniversary, National Sweetest Day encourages everyone to be generous even in the smallest ways. From its inception as Candy Day in 1916, this day reminds us that even small tokens improve the lives of those around us who are suffering or going without. While the day may have begun with candy and sweets, encouraging us to take home sweets to our sweethearts and friends, it is a day full of lessons in persistence, resilience and doing small things in greatly. ... National Sweetest Day found its beginnings in a holiday founded by the National Confectioners’ Association in 1916 called Candy Day. On October 14, 1916, candy shops around the country filled newspapers announcing their sweetest treats and delights. Originally designated to be celebrated the second Saturday of every October, the confectioners’ convention in Detroit in May of 1916 made the final resolution. Walter C. Hughes, the secretary of the National Confectioners’ Association, encouraged Americans to patronizes their local candy shops, bakers, and druggist for the highest quality confections.
The earliest mentions of the “Sweetest Day of the Year” were in several advertisements found in Indiana, Minnesota, and Texas newspapers. It was not the official name of the day – not yet.
In 1917 with war raging in Europe, many retailers encouraged patrons to “Get one for yourself and one for the boys overseas!”
By April of 1918, the United States officially entered the war in Europe and with that came rationing. Sugar, as well as many other commodities, became scarce. The holiday that was starting to see such success was shelved.
With the end of the war in 1919, sweetness returned to October. So sweet in fact, Candy Day became an entire week. Then in 1923, the day kicked into the full charitable swing.
Sweetest Day’s theme of charity and giving became apparent in 1921 when the Detroit Retail Confectioners, Detroit Wholesale Confections Club, Detroit Jobbing Confectioners Association and the Michigan Confectioners Club joined forces with the Red Cross to distribute thousands of bags of candy to hospitals, orphanages, shelters and homes across Michigan. The celebration also included 100 regulation army target balloons which dropped coupons worth a box of candy.
In 1929, Sweetest Day settled into its current home, the third Saturday in October.
Yes, it's a very Michigan holiday. No wonder I had never heard of it until I moved here from California.
I conclude with the song that I've associated with this day ever since I first heard of it, "Sweetest Day" by Control Freq, a Detroit area band.
Once again, Happy Sweetest Day!
*The 2015 post was the sixteenth most read entry of the fifth year of the blog and the 2016 post was the eighth most read entry of the sixth year of the blog and reached sixth on the all-time list.
Last week, Talking Points Memo published three letters from its readers about guns and gun culture. Two of them deal with guns in a post-apocalyptic world, one of them specifically about the zombie apocalypse. The first was Readers on Guns #2, which deals directly with a theme I explored in Zombies meet preppers on 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 3 -- racism as a motivation behind prepping for the zombie apocalypse.
I know that a lot of the rhetoric from the pro-gun crowd revolves around “protection from tyranny,” but my sense is that the “tactical situation” they are mostly thinking about is more lurid than that. You sometime hear them talking about the “zombie apocalypse” or more generally some sort of “social breakdown,” where their stockpiles might form the basis of a protective arsenal. Are they really worried about zombies? Of course not. That’s just a wink-wink, nod-nod.
Follow over the jump for the rest of this letter and all of the next.
That was because I had found out that there was a winning entry that examined the topic of the first paragraph over the fold in the last post before the winners announced. I just hadn't mentioned it. Here's the paragraph.
The opioid epidemic, which I mentioned in U.S. life expectancy falls prompting Russian analogies, inspired three nominees. "Hooked: America's Opioid Epidemic" from NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt is nominated for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Newscast. Vice News Tonight's "The Rise of Carfentanil" is nominated for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast. "Chasing Heroin" from Frontline on PBS, earned a nomination for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. Yes, health is a social issue. Regardless of whether these nominees win their categories, I will probably return to this topic as an example of societal decline and collapse.
NBC10’s Digital Team spent five months investigating the issue of opioid addiction in the Philadelphia region and beyond. They discovered a generation of addicted people and a public health and law enforcement system ill-equipped to save them.
I'm sure that I'll have more to write about the opioid epidemic in the future, most likely about the prescription pill side of it.
In the meantime, I plan on posting about "The Rachel Maddow Show" and the Flint Water Crisis on the 25th. In between, I have two posts planned about "The Walking Dead," Sweetest Day, National TV Talk Show Host Day, and Food Day. Stay tuned.
Happy Hagfish Day! Here's the national day's description from National Day Calendar.
Hagfish Day is observed annually on the third Wednesday in October.
Hagfish are considered to be the ugliest of species. The idea behind Hagfish Day is to encourage everyone to look beyond the exterior of the Hagfish and appreciate how highly evolved they are.
In general, O.K., but in detail, no. I'm sure there are uglier vertebrates. Also, while hagfish are just as evolved as any other organism on this planet, they are the descendants of the first branch off the vertebrate family tree. In fact, they branched off so early that they don't even really have vertebrae! They're the reason why cladists call the group Craniates instead of vertebrates; the most primitive group to have vertebrae are lampreys. See the phylogenetic diagram below.
However, I did not decide to celebrate Hagfish Day to give a lecture. Instead, I'm doing so to note that hagfish got in the news this summer. Watch Sloppy slime eel spill stops traffic from USA Today, which I showed to one of my classes this summer. USA Today took down that video, so here's the National Geographic video instead.
A car accident caused thousands of hagfish to spill on the highway, coating the road—and even a car—with slime. Hagfish, also called slime eels, secrete huge amounts of an extremely slippery mucus when stressed. The Oregon Department of Transportation used firehoses and a bulldozer to clear away the goo. The fish were likely destined for Asia, where many countries consider them a delicacy.
The hagfish is a slime-emitting ocean-dweller that's remained unchanged for 300 million years--and it shows. It has a skull (but no spine), velvet smooth skin, and a terrifying pit of a mouth that’s lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth.
That shows and tells a lot more about the animal itself and not just how it interacts with humans.
Two nominees cover the Amazon Rain Forest and its environmental issues. "La Amazonía: Un Paraíso A La Venta" from Univision earned a nomination for Outstanding Feature Story in Spanish. "Deforestation in the Amazon InfoGuide" from The Council on Foreign Relations has a nomination for Outstanding New Approaches: Current News, where it is competing with "Carbon's Casualties" from The New York Times. That story details the first crop of climate refugees, including Americans living in Alaska and Louisiana who have to move away from rising sea levels. I might blog about that even if it doesn't win.
Looking at the list in the image above, it looks like I missed listing a feature story on Monarch Butterflies in my examination of sustainability themed nominees. The listing of nominees by Tom Llamas as he presented Outstanding Feature Story in Spanish shows I missed another about living in the shadow of oil.
She's absolutely right; without a healthy Amazon, we can't have a healthy planet. Also, I was lucky that I had already listed the winner while I missed two other nominees that I should have mentioned.
El río Amazonas, la gran reserva natural del planeta, está en riesgo. Más de 20 mil animales silvestres traficados sólo en Colombia en 2016 y alrededor de 120 mil hectáreas deforestadas han puesto la alerta. Un recorrido por la zona deja al descubierto lo que los promotores turísticos no quieren que nadie vea.
Translation: The Amazon River, the great nature reserve of the planet, is at risk. More than 20 thousand wild animals were trafficked in Colombia alone in 2016 and approximately 120 thousand hectares deforested have raised an alarm. A tour of the area left uncovered what tourism promoters do not want anybody to see.
To observe today, I'm sharing two of the most popular videos from Tipsy Bartender on YouTube that involve liqueur, in this case, blue curacao. First, the 31 Shot Glass Rainbow Shot Challenge, which was used in the opening of the rest of Skyy's videos for 2015.
Can it be done?! Rainbow shots using 31 shot glasses!
Medical issues in sports were the subject of three nominees. "Russia's Dark Secret" from 60 Minutes on CBS explores doping in Russia's sports teams, particularly in Olympic events. It's nominated for Outstanding Investigative Report in a Newsmagazine along with the other nominee exploring the health aspects of sports, "Cost of the Game: The Dangers of Youth Football" from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. The latter segment might just get the U.S. to yes on the question of "Are you ready for no football?" So might "Friday Night Lights" from Vice News Tonight, which is nominated for Outstanding Feature Story in a Newscast.
Of those three, the only winner was "Cost of the Game: The Dangers of Youth Football" from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO, an appropriate awardee to examine on a football Sunday. Watch Byron Pitts present the award for Outstanding Investigative Report in a News Magazine.
Bernard Goldberg investigates the alarming number of high school football deaths-and sits down with Terry O’Neil, a former executive producer of NFL football, to discuss the lack of protection for younger players and researchers at Boston University to hear about their new findings.
As a former high school football player, those statistics are scary and make me glad I seem to have escaped brain damage. They also make me glad my son played soccer instead of football.
There was a third nominee about football that I missed in last week's listing of nominees. It won an award, so follow over the jump for two videos about it.
I found three nominees that were more science than either health or the environment. Two of them were nominated for Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary, "A Bear's-Eye View of Yellowstone" and "Collisions." The former looks like a fun follow-up to 'Wild Yellowstone: The Frozen Frontier' -- last year's Emmy winner for Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary and Long Form. The second is much more serious and on-topic for this blog, the story of a native tribal elder's recounting of his being witness to an atomic bomb test in the Australian Outback. Not only does it talk about the event, but also the elder's philosophy on caring for the environment. For both of these nominees, it is not the content that is being recognized, but the technology used to tell it.
A work of stunning visuals and powerful narrative, Collisions tells the story of Aboriginal elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan who lived as 1000 generations before him in the remote Pilbara desert of Western Australia-- until his life was dramatically impacted by a collision with the extreme edge of Western science and technology. [Lynette] Wallworth is an acclaimed Australian artist and documentary filmmaker known for producing immersive artworks that provoke a profound emotional response. She is ideally positioned to explore the storytelling potential of VR, and sees the new form as the perfect vehicle for Nyarri to communicate his story.
Congratulations to Wallworth and all the people she named in her acceptance speech.
That's not all. Follow over the jump for a video of one of the tests and another about the site today.
Ahoy sailors! Check out our latest animation video which shows the 7 most common sailing superstitions amongst seafarers!
That's a really well-animated video of the list, but it doesn't explain why any of them exist. For that, watch Tour Guide Talk: Naval Superstitions from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Join Intrepid Museum Tour Guide Matt Harris as he shares some of the history behind certain naval myths and superstitions. Why are bananas bad luck on ships? Why are cats good luck? Watch to learn more!
Yes, those explanations for why bananas are bad luck and cats are good luck make sense. Not all superstitions are arbitrary or silly, so I'll remember no bananas on board!
I guess there was only one clip of each nominee to show.
I'm pleasantly surprised that "Body Team 12" won. I thought "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" would be the more likely victor with "Extremis" the next most likely winner. That written, I think it fully deserved both honors.
I was rooting for "Vanishing: The Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction" from CNN Digital to win. It didn't, but I wasn't disappointed as all the nominees were worthy, including "The End of AIDS?" from PBS NewsHour. Watch Byron Pitts present the award for Outstanding Science, Medical and Environmental Report.
I am glad they brought Scott Kelly up there. Most of the acceptance speeches have the crew up there, not the stars. Kelly is the star of this show and he deserved the recognition. Also, I'm glad this show won; it's the nominee that was most about science and technology. I was afraid the star power of Werner Herzog and David Lynch would drive their projects to victory instead.
PM Justin Trudeau conceded that Canada is flawed and drew attention to the current plight of Canada's Indigenous people in his second-ever speech before the UN General Assembly today.
While it is not the most positive portrayal of Canada, Trudeau is at least willing to own up to his country's faults, as few as they are, and is interested in rectifying them, not only for the First Nations people directly affected, but to enhance Canada's standing in the world. Canada should be thankful for that, as the U.S. currently doesn't have a leader like that.
From astronaut to Governor General: Julie Payette journeyed to space twice, but her next mission at Rideau Hall is expected to come with its own kind of challenges.
Canadians should be thankful to have someone as accomplished as their head of state. I wish we had a former astronaut as President!
Trudeau's remarks about the plight of the First Nations in Canada, reminds me that it's also Indigenous People's Day or Native American Day here in the U.S. It's also a day to celebrate the real first European to land in North America, Leif Erikson. Follow over the jump for more on both from National Day Calendar.
[Me:] Oh, I'm familiar with Discordianism. I'm single-handedly keeping alive a fake holiday called Wester, which is the first Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox. When I first posted about it, my Discordian friend claimed it for Discordianism. As far as I'm concerned, it's still a Discordian holiday. ... [Greer:] Pinku-Sensei, yes, I thought I remembered you were a closet Discordian. Wester is funny; presumably that was the day that some messiah or other descended from the living? ... [Me:] I agree, Wester is funny. As for an anointed one descending from the living, sorry, that wasn't part of the Wester story that I heard. However, the holiday has its own animal mascot, the Wester Squirrel, which goes around and gathers goodies to hide instead of hiding goodies to pass out like the Easter Bunny.
The coversation led to Greer suggesting Norther and Souther with lemming and wombat mascots respectively, suggestions I followed through on -- but that's not the subject of today's post.** Instead, since I've been featuring the best in last year's nature films and TV shows, I'm continuing on with funny clips of squirrels from nature shows. I begin with Squirrel Uses 'Walking Dead' Move to Hide from Snakes from Nature on PBS.
Has this squirrel species been watching "The Walking Dead"? ... In the popular TV series "The Walking Dead" humans can hide from zombies by covering themselves in zombie guts, masking their scent. The California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) uses a similar tactic to hide from a major predator, the rattlesnake, which relies on smell to track down its prey.
Last year, I celebrated Wester with an image of a zombie squirrel. This year, it's only fitting I post a video of a squirrel using an anti-zombie snake defense.
A squirrel uses his intelligence to outwit a nut thief by pretending he's burying a nut.
Serves that squirrel right. That reminds me, it's time for a Wester blessing. May the Wester Squirrel not steal anything from you and hide it!
*In the first Happy Wester post here, I passed along the observation that Wester usually falls during the Jewish festival of Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles. This is true this year and my wife and I have been invited to a sukkuh decorating party. I've never been to one, despite growing up in a Jewish neighborhood. I've been told it will be fun.
**The next Norther will be January 7, as the full moon falls on New Year's Day, so there will be a Blue Moon on January 31. Speaking of blue lunar holidays, the first full moon after the 2018 winter solstice will fall on Saturday December 22nd, so there will be a second Norther on December 23. Blue Norther on Festivus!
Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary, a category I'll return to tomorrow. ... I plan on posting more about the other winners in science, nature, health, and the environment tomorrow and next week, continuing with the winner of Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary. Stay tuned.
Do female Costa's hummingbirds really find this look attractive? ... Spring is the time to nest for the Costa's hummingbirds, before the desert gets too hot. Both males and females are looking for a partner, but it's up to him to impress her. Though his back shimmers with green, it’s not until we get her point of view that we see his true splendor. He flexes the iridescent feathers of his mantle until they become a glowing mask of violet.
Hummingbirds may look cute, but they have a fierce warrior within. ... Hummingbirds sometimes use their unmatched flying skills for something other than feeding on flowers--for fighting over them. Flowers in full bloom are a call to arms. It’s fight and flight – a display of skill and fiery tempers.
I don't know if I'll use these videos in my classes, but I certainly will recommend this show to my students for extra credit. In fact, I did so yesterday.
I will return to the winners of the News and Documentary Emmy Awards next week after I wish my readers a HappyWester tomorrow. Stay tuned.
The executive producer of the film stating that the Natural Resources Defense Council has sued the Trump Adminstration more than two dozen times this year over its destructive environmental policies -- and it's only October -- caught my attention. I searched for "NRDC sues Trump" and immediately found these three headlines from the NRDC's website:
September 27: The Truth Behind Trump's Brazen Attempt to Kill the Clean Water Rule The president's scheme is unlawful and reckless—and we're doing everything we can to stop it. September 29: The Gloves Are Off Trump is going after America’s most pristine wildland. Literally the “last best place” in the country. It’s a brazen move—and proof that no part of our natural heritage is safe from commercial exploitation these days. October 4: Zinke’s Illegal Suspension of Methane Rules Will Not Stand Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s illegal suspension of rules to cut methane pollution from drilling operations on public lands is the latest example of the Trump administration’s cavalier disregard for vital public health and environmental safeguards.
The last action was almost immediately successful.
Update: in a rebuke for Secretary Zinke, late today the federal court in San Francisco overturned the BLM’s first stay of the methane rule, and ordered the rule back into full effect.
All three of these were only from the past two weeks. I don't need to search any more to be persuaded that NRDC has sued the Trump Adminstration at least 25 times this year.
Follow over the jump for the presentation and acceptance of the other award "Sonic Sea" won.
That's it for the nominees in the categories devoted to science, space, medicine, nature, and the environment. I'll return tomorrow with the final installment on the nominees, when I plan on collecting all the leftovers in these topics in one place. Stay tuned.
A special presentation of three films on one night. “Ebola: The Doctors’ Story,” “Body Team 12,” and “Orphans of Ebola” premiere March 14 on HBO.
This trailer won't have to serve as the video introduction to all three episodes; “Body Team 12,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, has its own. “Orphans of Ebola” doesn't seem to have one on YouTube.
Body Team 12 follows a team of Liberian Red Cross workers tasked with collecting the dead during the height of the Ebola outbreak. The story is told on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia, through the eyes of the only female member of the team, who reveals the lifesaving work of removing bodies from family and loved ones in order to halt transmission of the disease.
Yes, another Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject is getting another shot at recognition at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.* Here, it is nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary and Outstanding Editing: Documentary. In the latter category, it is competing with the third part of HBO's "Ebola Trilogy," "Orphans of Ebola." In both categories, "Body Team 12" is also competing against the end-of-life medical documentary "Extremis," another nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject. Here is its trailer from Netflix.
Witness the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions as doctors, patients and families in a hospital ICU face harrowing choices.
This last film makes a point about medicine that it is not purely a science; it is an art as well. I make that same point to my students every semester. As for which one I think will win, it depends on the category. I'd say "Extremis" would have a better shot at both, but I have my doubts either will win Outstanding Short Documentary. "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" is also nominated (and was a former Academy Award nominee), so it offers stiff competition. For Outstanding Editing: Documentary, the chances for the health documentaries are better.
Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees in science, health, and the environment.
On March 27, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly began a historic year in space. Follow Scott and his identical twin Mark Kelly as the two-part program tells the story of what it takes, mentally and physically, to spend a year in space.
I blogged about Scott and Mark Kelly's twin experiment in Twins on Earth and Space. That was three years ago. It's about time I followed up!
Speaking of following up, Time Magazine, which co-produced this documentary, announced that a "second installment, Beyond a Year in Space, will air this fall on PBS. Here's to it being nominated for an Emmy next year. If so, I'm looking forward to blogging about it.
Here is the trailer from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Sonic Sea ( http://www.sonicsea.org ) is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean.
The film is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features Sting, in addition to the renowned ocean experts Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Paul Spong, Dr. Christopher Clark and Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Sonic Sea was produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Imaginary Forces in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Diamond Docs.
Congratulations to Discovery Channel and to Trevor Gates, Ryan Briley, Ron Aston, and Christopher Bonis for their win in the category of BEST SOUND & MUSIC EDITING: TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY SHORT FORM. You deserved it.
On the other hand, the host/interviewer, while well-meaning, deserved the chuckles from the sound editors when she said that the film deserved an Academy Award. If she meant the Motion Picture Academy, that's not happening, as "Sonic Sea" is not a movie, so it wasn't nominated. If she meant the Television Academy, which awards the Emmys, that ship sailed in September. "Sonic Sea" was not nominated for Outstanding Music and Sound at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards for the 2015-2016 season, when it aired on Discovery. That trophy went to "The Last Orangutan Eden."
Next time, do your research on the awards for which a show is eligible before reporting on it.
I then realized I could be wrong.
Actually, I take that back about the Emmy Awards. While "Sonic Sea" missed the deadline for the prime time Emmys, which had a cut-off date of May 31st, it may still be eligible for the News & Documentary Emmys, which have an earlier deadline. This year, it will be April 20th. While the documentary was released as a film on January 15, 2016, its initial air date on Discovery was May 19th. Assuming the same deadline last year as this year, it would then be eligible for consideration for this year's awards. In that case, I apologize for being so snotty about the Emmy Awards. My criticism about the interviewer imploring the Oscars to recognize a film that the Motion Picture Academy didn't nominate still stands.
When "Sonic Sea" actually was nominated, I acknowledged it.
The Television Academy did recognize "Sonic Sea." It was nominated today for three News and Documentary Emmy Awards, Outstanding Nature Documentary, Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction, and Outstanding Music and Sound. Congratulations and good luck. The awards will be given on October 5th.
If the show wins any of the three awards, I'll go back and leave another comment.
Follow over the jump for the other nominees for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction and Outstanding Music and Sound.
In the News and Documentary Emmys, the show is nominated for Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary along with four other nature shows, "David Attenborough's Light on Earth," "Desert Warriors: Lions of the Namib," "Forces of Nature," and "Nature: Super Hummingbirds." I watched the last one at my mom's house in Utah immediately after I watched the Nova episode " Treasures of the Earth: Power." It deserves its nomination. As for "Wild New Zealand," its nominations prove it was well-narrated and well-photographed.
Since I've already featured "Wild New Zealand" in an earlier entry and I've praised "Nature: Super Hummingbirds," I'll write about the latter one first (and the first one last). Here is the preview from PBS.
Hummingbirds are amazing creatures to behold. They are the tiniest of birds, yet possess natural born super powers that enable them to fly backwards, upside-down, and float in mid-air. Their wings beat faster than the eye can see and the speed at which they travel makes people wonder if it was indeed a hummingbird they actually saw. They also are only found in the Americas. These attributes have both intrigued scientists and made it challenging to study the species, but with the latest high-speed cameras and other technologies, Super Hummingbirds reveals new scientific breakthroughs about these magical birds.
In addition to being nominated for Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary, the Nature episode is nominated for Outstanding Nature Documentary. So is another nominee, CuriosityStream's "David Attenborough's Light on Earth."
Why do animals produce light of their own? For centuries, we could only marvel at the mystery of bioluminescence. Now we can begin to reveal the amazing truth about these living lights. Sir David Attenborough is our guide, as we venture into a world he describes as "utterly unlike our own".
Yes, Sir David narrates nominees in the News and Documentary Emmys as well. Follow over the jump for the rest of them as well as the remaining nominees in both Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary and Outstanding Nature Documentary.