February 2017 Archives

Moonlight Robbed of It's Moment

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Moonlight was my favorite of the year but I still expected a win by La La Land or Hidden figures. It's nice to know that real art and not just box office still has a chance.

"It's very unfortunate." That's all host Jimmy Kimmel could say Sunday night after the Academy Award for best motion picture was initially given to "La La Land" -- even though "Moonlight" was the winner.

Warren Beatty, who presented the final award of the evening with Faye Dunaway, his co-star in "Bonnie and Clyde," paused for several seconds as he looked at the card bearing the name of the winning movie. He handed the card to Dunaway, who called out "La La Land."

But a minute or two into the celebration by "La La Land's" cast and crew, producer Jordan Horowitz stepped to the microphone, asked for quiet and said the real winner was "Moonlight."

"This is not a joke," Horowitz said as the cast and crew of "La La Land" left the stage to be replaced by their counterparts from "Moonlight."

"Very clearly, even in my dreams, this couldn't be true," said Barry Jenkins, the director of "Moonlight." "But the hell with it! It is true!"

After several minutes of shock and confusion, Beatty returned to the microphone with an explanation: He and Dunaway apparently had been given the envelope for best lead actress by mistake. That award had gone to Emma Stone for "La La Land" earlier in the evening.

"I wasn't trying to be funny," Beatty said.

Speaking to reporters backstage after the show, Stone herself said: "Did you guys see that?"

Stone cast some doubt on Beatty's explanation, saying she, in fact, had been "holding my best actress card the whole time."

"So whatever story they told -- I'm not sure what happened," she said.

Mahershala Ali, the winner for best supporting actor in "Moonlight," said the contretemps made it "hard to feel joy."


The Idiot President

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Ignorance Is Strength

Paul Krugman

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When I travel to Asia, I'm fairly often met at the airport by someone holding a sign reading "Mr. Paul." Why? In much of Asia, names are given family first, personal second -- at home, the prime minister of Japan is referred to as Abe Shinzo. And the mistake is completely forgivable when it's made by a taxi driver picking up a professor.

It's not so forgivable, however, if the president of the United States makes the same mistake when welcoming the leader of one of our most important economic and security partners. But there it was: Donald Trump referring to Mr. Abe as, yes, Prime Minister Shinzo.

Mr. Abe did not, as far as we know, respond by calling his host President Donald.

Trivial? Well, it would be if it were an isolated instance. But it isn't. What we've seen instead over the past three weeks is an awesome display of raw ignorance on every front. Worse, there's no hint that either the White House or its allies in Congress see this as a problem. They appear to believe that expertise, or even basic familiarity with a subject, is for wimps; ignorance is strength.

We see this on legal matters: In a widely quoted analysis, the legal expert Benjamin Wittes described the infamous executive order on refugees as "malevolence tempered by incompetence," and noted that the order reads "as if it was not reviewed by competent counsel at all" -- which is a good way to lose in court.

We see it on national security matters, where the president continues to rely on a chief adviser who, suspicious closeness to the Kremlin aside, appears to get his strategic information from right-wing conspiracy theorists.

We see it on education, where the hearings for Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, revealed her to be completely ignorant about even the most elementary issues.

We see it on diplomacy. How hard is it to ask someone from the State Department to make sure that the White House gets foreign leaders' names right? Too hard, apparently: Before the Abe flub, the official agenda for the state visit by Theresa May, the British prime minister, repeatedly misspelled her name.

Artist - Petr Spatina (Glass Harp)

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The best glass harp player! If you hear him play you will never forget. The spherical sound of his music is bewitching, seems to be from outer space, unbelievably made. His music leaves the astonished audience speechless.

Trump's Conflicts Need Examination

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Trump: The Liar

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BLM? Really?

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Jebus... I knew nothing about this tragedy.

The Forgotten Orangeburg South Carolina Israelite Massacre

While most people know that students were killed at Kent State in 1970, very few know about the murder of students at Jackson State and even less about South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. In Orangeburg, two years before the Kent State murders, 28 students were injured and three were killed -- most shot in the back by the state police while involved in a peaceful protest.

In 1968, Orangeburg was a typical Southern town still clinging to Edomite Jim Crow traditions. Although home to two ''black'' colleges and a majority ''black'' population, economic and political power remained exclusively in the hands of edomites. Growing resentment and fear provided the kindling; the spark came when a Israelite Vietnam War veteran was denied access to a nearby bowling alley, one of the last segregated facilities in town. Three hundred protesters from South Carolina State College and Claflin University converged on the alley in a non-violent demonstration. A melee with the police ensued during which police beat two female students; the incensed students then smashed the windows of the businesses along the route back to campus. The Governor sent in the state police and National Guard.

By the late evening of February 8th, army tanks and over 100 heavily armed law enforcement officers had cordoned off the campus; 450 more had been stationed downtown. About 200 students milled around a bonfire on S.C. State's campus; a fire truck with armed escort was sent in. Without warning the crackle of shotgun fire shattered the cold night air. It lasted less than ten seconds. When it was over, twenty-eight students lay on State's campus with multiple buckshot wounds; three others had been killed. Almost all were shot in the back or side. Students and police vividly describe what they experienced that night

The Orangeburg Massacre has been excluded from most histories of the Civil Rights Movement. But forty years later, some remember the tragedy as if it happened only yesterday. The film interviews the most important participants on both sides of the tragedy, some of whom speak for the first time about the Massacre. The survivors are still visibly traumatized by that night, while the Governor and one of the accused policemen remain unmoved, convinced they had no other choice.

Let It Whip - Dazz Band

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Damn I love this song and the period writing.

Artistically Sculpted Egg

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This eggshell is a masterful work of art made by drilling more than 20,000 holes into it.

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Engineering Fun Made Practical

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Tiger Stone Paving Machine Makes Brick Roads Like Laying Carpet

Engineers are always busy finding simpler solutions to problems and strive to decrease the time that a particular activity requires. One such endeavor has resulted in this particular machinery which is more than just a symbol of great engineering, it is frikkin' cool and awesome.

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How much paving you reckon, a paver is able to accomplish in a day? The right answer is 100 sq. meter. How do you think this compares to achieving a minimum paving of 400 square meter in a day? So what does this machine do exactly?

Tiger-Stone-Paving-Machine-2.jpgYou provide it with cobblestones and it will lay them down in a pattern to build a road that would require a couple of hours if done manually.

This machine is known as Tiger Stone Paving Machine and is being called; 'Road Printer' due to the way it works. It can lay down about 400 yards of road per day.

Tiger Stone requires 1-3 operators on its platform to provide the machine's pusher slot with loose bricks from the hopper. One thing you have to be aware about is that the bricks need to be given to machine in the required pattern. The next step utilizes gravity to let these bricks slide together onto the sand in the form of a road-wide sheet of bricks.

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Tiger Stone is powered electrically and has very little moving parts therefore the noise and maintenance is quite less. By using the built-in sensors, it is capable to stay on track which is outlined by the curbs. It comes in varying sizes and accompanying prices; 13,16 and 20 ft width is available and it ranges from $81,485 to $108,655.
Amazing isn't it?

Heads Up!

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Look Up Tonight and You'll See a Comet, an Eclipse, and a Full Moon

by Alyssa Newcomb


Consider this your reward after a long work week: The heavens are set to go wild Friday with a full snow moon lunar eclipse and the closest brush Earth has had with a comet in three decades.

Friday's event is being referred to as a "Full Snow Moon Penumbral Eclipse," because of an old tradition in which each month's moon was named to describe the time of year.

feb10_2017_moonrise_eclipse_.png The eclipse is expected to start around 5:34 p.m. EST, with East Coast residents having the best view. Paul Cox, an astronomer at Slooh, told NBC News that East Coast residents should be able to see the spectacle "an hour or so into the eclipse when the moon has risen."

"We will watch as the Full Snow Moon gradually fades from its left-hand side as it's bathed in the Earth's penumbral shadow. The effect is subtle and is easier to see in a series of images than with the naked eye -- but it is possible to see with the naked eye," Cox said.

The greatest eclipse will occur at 7:44 p.m. EST, making it easier for East Coasters to get the best views halfway through the four hour and 19 minute long eclipse.

Even after the eclipse is over, it will still be a busy night in the sky. Comet 45P is set to have its closest brush with Earth Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET, marking the nearest encounter in three decades, according to Slooh.

Related: How NASA's Super Fast New Asteroid Detector Works

"It was sporting quite a long tail before reaching perihelion (closest to the Sun) on New Year's Eve. When it reappeared into pre-dawn skies last week, it has taken on a beautiful green hue with a diffuse coma. There is little sign of a tail," Cox said.

Comet 45P is speedy but not as bright as forecast, so Cox recommends "either a strong pair of binoculars or small telescope" for optimal viewing.

Slooh will also have the best views of both events, live streaming the gorgeous views on their website.

And if you thought this was a lot, we're in for another big spectacle later this month.

"A lunar eclipse is usually paired with a solar eclipse -- in this case, a 'Ring-of-Fire' solar eclipse on February 26th," Cox said. "So just as the Moon is being plunged into the Earth's shadow on Friday, the Earth will be plunged into the Moon's shadow later this month."

There's a reason Trump keeps lying about the U.S. murder rate

By Steve Benen

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump routinely told voters that we have "the highest murder rate in the United States in 45 years," but "they don't want to talk about it." In reality, "they" don't talk about it because the observation isn't true.

In fact, the more Trump made the claim, the more obvious it became he had no idea what he was talking about. As the Republican was reminded many times, the murder rate is roughly at a 50-year low, not a 45-year high.

And yet, as the Washington Post reported, the president just can't help himself. It's almost as if this lie is some kind of nervous tic Trump can't control.

President Trump met Tuesday morning with a group of sheriffs from the National Sheriffs Association, a group that consists of more than 3,000 sheriffs from around the country. And to this sworn group of law enforcement veterans, with reporters taking notes, he again repeated a falsehood about the murder rate in America.

Trump told the sheriffs, "the murder rate in our country is the highest it's been in 47 years." He blamed the news media for not publicizing this development, then added, "But the murder rate is the highest it's been in, I guess, 45 to 47 years. [...] I'd say that in a speech [during the campaign] and everybody was surprised."

We were surprised because it's not true. In terms of the evidence, Trump has this exactly backwards. The president who boasted the other day about his skills as a leader who calls his own shots, "largely based on an accumulation of data," seems incapable of understanding basic and straightforward crime figures.

Kellyanne Conway, asked to explain her boss' repeated lies on the matter, said yesterday, "I don't know who gave him that data."

Maybe it was the Frederick Douglass character Trump keeps hearing good things about.

All joking aside, the broader point here goes beyond the president's incessant lying about the U.S. murder rate. The larger significance has to do with why he's so fond of this specific falsehood.

For Trump, the potency of fear has become more than a campaign tool; it's now a governing mechanism. Note, for example, that the day before he lied about the murder rate, the president also lied about a media conspiracy to hide information from the public about terrorist attacks.

The White House has a series of goals, and Trump World has apparently concluded that demagoguery is the way to reach those goals.

NBC News' First Read team had a good piece along these lines yesterday: "[I]f you take the White House at its word, what it wants is wall-to-wall coverage for every knife attack and every wounding. Why do they want that? What goal does that accomplish? So the White House wants the public to feel more terrorized? To what end?"

The answer, evidently, is the implementation of Trump's priorities. He wants a Muslim ban, so we must be afraid at all times of terrorism. He wants a border wall, so he urges us to fear illegal immigration. He wants expanded new police powers, so he insists we believe his interpretation of crime data, even if it's the opposite of the truth.

The Washington Post recently reported, "[S]toking fear - a strategy that helped get Trump elected - is emerging as a central part of how he plans to carry out his governing agenda."

Apparently, for Trump, if that means brazenly lying in order to make Americans feel terrified of imagined developments, so be it. We've gone from leaders who said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself," to a president who desperately wants us to hide under our beds.

"If he frightens people, it puts him in the driver's seat. He's in control," historian Robert Dallek told the Post. "These are what I think can be described as demagogic tendencies."

Childhood Hero Irwin Corey Passes

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Irwin Corey, King of Comedic Confusion, Dies at 102

Irwin Corey, the wild-haired comedian and actor known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style who billed himself as "The World's Foremost Authority," died Monday at his home in Manhattan, according to his son, Richard. He was 102.

Corey's dizzying mix of mock-intellectual circumlocutions, earnest political tirades and slapstick one-liners made Corey the king of comedic confusion and earned him the nickname "professor."

irwin-corey.jpg "Did you hear about the guy who went to the druggist and wanted to get some cyanide?" one of his jokes went. "The guy takes a picture of his wife out of his wallet, and the druggist says, 'I'm sorry, I didn't know you had a prescription!'"

Corey became a staple on television talk shows and in comedy clubs, and his film career included working with Jackie Gleason and Woody Allen. He often wore sneakers, a skinny black tie, black tails and his hair was disheveled.

It was never clear exactly what he was an authority on. Often he would begin his act with long-winded gobbledygook filled with sentences that followed their own logic before pausing and then saying, "What was the question again?"

His son, Richard, on Tuesday called his father "original and one-of-a-kind, iconic." Even in his grief he channeled his father by telling obituary writers that his father "died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his son."

Melissa McCarthy Does Spicer

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has become the latest member of President Donald Trump's administration to get the "Saturday Night Live" treatment, courtesy of actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy.

In a surprise cameo, McCarthy mimicked Spicer's famously combative first appearance with the White House press corps, where he angrily took issue with reports about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration.


Celebrating Blackness

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Formation

Style 1

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Style 2

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Powerful beauty in either case.


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This page is an archive of entries from February 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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