August 20, 2011 archive

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The Best Politicians Money Can Buy

(h/t John Aravosis @ Americablog)


Well, never let it be said I’m not willing to admit a mistake.

Last weekend I kind of left you hanging without Part 2 of The Fowl Friend and my only explanation (not an excuse) is that the episode structure of Duck Dodgers is complicated and I had a very busy Saturday (I have now seen Harry Potter so you can discuss it freely without worrying you’ll spoil it for me).

There was also the picnic with my cousin and her 2 kids.

Rather than junk up this weekend’s presentation (well, more than I already have), I’ve gone back and corrected my previous essays which you can see here (Saturday) and here (Sunday).

This weekend’s Cartnoons originally aired on September 6, 2003 and are the first and second in production order.

Duck Deception Episode 1 Season 1

On This Day In History August 20

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 20 is the 232nd day of the year (233rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 133 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1911, the first around-the-world telegram sent, 66 years before Voyager II launch

On this day in 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. Exactly 66 years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sends a different kind of message–a phonograph record containing information about Earth for extraterrestrial beings–shooting into space aboard the unmanned spacecraft Voyager II.

The Times decided to send its 1911 telegram in order to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world by telegraph cable. The message, reading simply “This message sent around the world,” left the dispatch room on the 17th floor of the Times building in New York at 7 p.m. on August 20. After it traveled more than 28,000 miles, being relayed by 16 different operators, through San Francisco, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Bombay, Malta, Lisbon and the Azores–among other locations–the reply was received by the same operator 16.5 minutes later. It was the fastest time achieved by a commercial cablegram since the opening of the Pacific cable in 1900 by the Commercial Cable Company.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft is an unmanned interplanetary space probe launched on August 20, 1977. Both the Voyager 2 and the Voyager 1 space probes were designed, developed, and built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, California. Identical in form and instruments with its sister Voyager program craft Voyager 1, Voyager 2 was launched on a slower, more curved trajectory that allowed it to be kept in the plane of the Ecliptic (the plane of the Solar System) so that it could be sent on to Uranus and Neptune by means of utilizing gravity assists during its fly-by of Saturn in 1981 and of Uranus in 1986. Because of this chosen trajectory, Voyager 2 could not take a close-up look at the large Saturnian moon Titan as its sister space probe had. However, Voyager 2 did become the first and only spacecraft to make the spaceflight by Uranus and Neptune, and hence completing the Planetary Grand Tour. This is one that is made practical by a seldom-occurring geometric alignment of the outer planets (happening once every 175 years).

The Voyager 2 space probe has made the most productive unmanned space voyage so far, visiting all four of the Outer Planets and their systems of moons and rings, including the first two visits to previously unexplored Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 had two sensitive vidicon cameras and an assortment of other scientific instruments to make measurements in the ultraviolet, infrared, and radio wavelengths, as well as ones to measure subatomic particles in outer space, including cosmic rays. All of this was accomplished at a fraction of the amount of money that was later spent on more advanced and specialized space probes Galileo and Cassini-Huygens. Along with the earlier NASA Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, sister probe Voyager 1, and the more recent New Horizons, Voyager 2 is an interstellar probe in that all five of these are on one-way trajectories leaving the Solar System.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan



ANA unveiled a passenger jet festooned with images of the Pokemon character Pikachu at Sendai Airport. The aircraft, dubbed the “Peace Jet,” is intended as a pick-me-up to the victims of the March 11 disaster.

Authorities in Thailand deported a Japanese man who is accused of bilking an insurance company out of ¥11 million in an arson scheme in Sapporo.

JR West was ordered to pay ¥6.2 million in compensation to 61 employees for “psychological distress” caused during a disciplinary program. The staff were forced to “clean toilets and cut weeds” as punishment for bad behavior.

A visually impaired man from Yokohama was killed after being hit by a Den-en-toshi line train at Tsukushino station in Machida. The man, who was seen “walking unsteadily” before the accident, fell onto the tracks and was trying to climb back up when he was pinned between the train and the platform.

Police from Hokkaido raided the offices of an aviation school in Miyazaki in connection with the crash of a light plane that killed two people and injured a third during a training session in Obihiro.

Let’s call it what it is

 Famous investor George Soros warned the other day of very severe consequences if the Euro wasn’t saved.

 “It seems to me that one still doesn’t understand what would happen if the euro collapsed,” Soros told the Swiss magazine in an e-mailed pre-release of tomorrow’s edition. “It would lead to a banking crisis that would be totally out of control.”

He even used the term “new Great Depression”. It sounds serious, especially since many have come out and said that the cost of saving the Euro is too high. Some say the chances of the Euro’s survival is 50-50, and that the Euro-bond plan would be nothing more than a band-aid.

So while everyone worries about a Great Depression 2.0, we overlook the fundamental reasons why the economy remains so weak.

Popular Culture (Music) 20110819: 10cc

Sometimes I wright about bands that are not my favorites, but that had several nice songs.  10cc is one of them.  I own not a single record of theirs, but always thought that they were pretty good.  Not spectacular, but pretty good.  I am a casual listener, and until I began my research I did not even realize that they from the United Kingdom.

I should have known because of the song Rubber Bullets, but they use them here as well.  They were really pretty good, and at their best could express emotion extremely well, to the point of causing tears now and then.  Nothing like The Who, but still pretty good.

What I intend to do tonight is just to give a short survey of 10cc, not a deep analysis like I do with The Who.  I am sure that many of you are bored with my long and ponderous explication of the work from The Who, so this is sort of a break from it.  Also, I am changing my convention for names of bands, albums, and songs.  As before, the name of the band will always be in bold, and the name of the album in italics.  Starting now, the names of individual songs will be in italics, but with “quotation marks before and after” to do a better job of distinguishing the songs from the albums.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 8.18.11

And the Bronze goes to Ray Sandoval, the New Mexico director for OFA (Organizing for America aka Obama for America) for sending out an e-mail to supporters urging them to read the pejorative laced blog post of a so-called 28 year old “activist” that bashed the left and Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Keith eviscerates the blog post for using 9/11 in reference to our economic woes and points out the Obama will not get reelected without us on the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere”. So maybe they should STFU.

Just a word on Sen. Tom Coburn. Sen. Coburn is not only an embarrassment to our great democracy but as a physician. Thank you, Keith, excellent choices.

A Marriage in Cuba

I have to admit I have somewhat been avoiding this story, which has become a very big story in some transgender circles.  

Last Saturday, on Fidel Castro’s 85th birthday, post-op transsexual woman Wendy Iriepa, 37, whose surgery at the National Sex Education Centre (CENESEX) was paid for by the Cuban government four years ago, married the love of her life, gay-activist and dissident Ignacio Estrada, 31.  

Their engagement had caused so much turmoil within CENESEX (causing a rift between her and CENESEX director Mariela Castro (daughter of Raul and niece of Fidel)  that Wendy resigned her position (or was fired) at CENESEX, where she had been in charge of the care of transsexual persons.

Whatever the case may be, the 37-year-old transsexual underwent a radical change: from holding an active and distinguished post in the institution, to joining demonstrations by the dissident Women in White, a group of relatives of political prisoners.

She also invited internationally renowned dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez and her husband, journalist Reynaldo Escobar, to stand up in her wedding.