This is not a scene from 2001 – it is a real recording (well – digital rendition) of the radiowaves emitted by the planet Jupiter. From the video: “The complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the solar wind , planetary magnetosphere etc. create vibration ‘soundscapes’. The winds of Jupiter are a thousand metres per second relative to the rotating interior. Jupiter’s magnetic field is four thousand times stronger than Earth’s, and is tipped by 11° degrees of axis spin. This causes the magnetic field to wobble, which has a profound effect on trapped electronically charged particles. This plasma of charged particles is accelerated beyond the magnetosphere of Jupiter to speeds of tens of thousands of kilometres per second. It is these magnetic particle vibrations which generate some of the sound you hear on this recording.” This is undoubtedly an eerie sound. If you find this interesting, you can also listen to the sounds of Earth, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, and even a black hole.
“We tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense, and that nowness becomes so vivid that, almost in a perverse sort of way, I’m almost serene… Things are both more trivial than they ever were, and more important than they ever were, and the difference between the trivial and the important doesn’t seem to matter. But the nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous.”
[Legendary Television writer Dennis Potter’s last interview (not so much an interview… it’s almost a monologue.) It was filmed shortly after he learned that he had pancreatic cancer (which he named “Rupert,” after Murdoch) and was not expect to live more than a few more months. His inflamed hands can barely hold his ever-present cigarette (which he refers to as a “little tube of delight”), and he alternately sips champagne and swigs liquid morphine from an antique hip flask (to ease the pain.) Potter talks of the clarity and beauty of life that impending death gives. He faces squarely into the prospect of his life’s end. No sentimentality. No pathos. Just honesty and integrity and insight. His comments on the basis for his serenity are deeply moving. It’s truly remarkable.]
During the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union was hot. People around the world watched and listened.
Some, most notably amateur radio operators, listened more closely than others. And of these, a pair of young brothers from Italy, Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia, reigned supreme. The brothers used home-made equipment to listen in on the Soviet launches.
They recorded the heartbeat of the dog Laika who was launched in the one way Sputnik 2 voyage. But then, in 1961, they recorded something eerie. It was the sound of a woman who appeared to be a woman who may have been involved in testing of the ability for humans to cope with space.
The audio (in Russian) says: “Isn’t this dangerous? Talk to me! Our transmission begins now. I feel hot. I can see a flame. Am I going to crash? Yes. I feel hot, I will re-enter…” The audio stopped at that point.
Everyone needs to watch “Blackfish”, it’s a disturbing, revelatory film on the dangers of nabbing animals from their natural habitat and keeping them in captivity for our recreational purposes. Although a documentary, the film directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite plays out like a razor sharp thriller on large smarmy entertainment corporations who abuse ethical boundaries and shoot animal rights to hell.
Blackfish chronicles Tilikum, an Orca who was captured in Iceland and brought to Seaworld, a popular American marine park to entertain audiences by performing tricks. To say that the film makes you loathe Seaworld is an understatement – it will make you cringe in your seat and sick to your stomach with its series of shocking exposes. Tilikum was treated like a milking commodity by the owners of the water park, and he ended up killing a few of his trainers in response. And appallingly, the Seaworld management not only refused to make changes to the way they do their business, but also blamed the victims for their own deaths.
All of that is just the tip of the iceberg and director Cowperthwaite puts together a bunch of searing interviews with former trainers and workers of marine parks who are now disillusioned and recount ghastly details of the underbelly of their industry. The filmmaker also interviews whale hunters who are absolutely disgusted with their own selves for being in a profession that slaughters other species. The details become more and more grim and disturbing as the film goes on, and you keep wondering why anyone would believe that putting killer whales in a tiny tank and making humans interact with them is a great business idea.
Seaworld refused to be interviewed for this film and the reasons are only too obvious. There is some horrific footage, least of which is when Tilikum grabs and drags his trainer to the bottom of the pool out of sheer frustration. If that doesn’t turn your stomach, the footage of hunters throwing a net and separating screaming baby whales from their mothers certainly will. It’s heartbreaking enough to crack open your home’s aquarium and set your pet fish free.
But this is not a sensationalist manipulative propaganda film. Apart from its substantial research work, Blackfish really rises to greatness for the way it makes a case against keeping killer whales in captivity by establishing the evidence that they are highly intelligent and emotional creatures. To date there are zero reported incidents of killer whales attacking humans in their habitat, and Tilikum was plucked from his family and home and placed in a tank that is the human equivalent of a bathtub to train. Three years ago the brilliant and unsettling The Cove exposed the annual mass torture and murder of dolphins in Japan, and Blackfish is a powerful companion piece to that film.
I can’t wait for the future when we have domesticated bears.
I’m voting for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 2016. Somebody go dig him up…
“I’ve been watching old Mussolini propaganda speeches on YouTube. He does this smug wrestler style facial expression after making a point. Its pretty amazing.”
“So, you actually just watch him speak Italian, have no idea what he’s saying, and study his facial expressions?”
“I’m preparing for my career in politics…”
“If you’re in any way serious, we already have considerable damage control to do.”
I have grown up during an era of some of the wussiest Democrats in the history of the party. The 1930′s had FDR publicly telling rich opponents of the New Deal to go fuck themselves. The 1960′s had LBJ corralling Democrats into committing electoral suicide in the name of ending de jure racism. So yes, I take pleasure in the normally soft-spoken Harry Reid throwing bombs at the other side with his middle finger in the air, during this self induced crisis created by the Tea Party (in their attempt to subvert the democratic process.)
He has the appearance and demeanor of a frail, weak old man, but he is actually pretty cutthroat. For example, some parts of the movie Casino are based on Reid’s experiences as the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. During that time, a man named Jack Gordon (who later married LaToya Jackson) tried to give Reid a $12,000 bribe. Reid let the FBI videotape Gordon offering him the bribe, and then, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal, he “put his hands around Gordon’s neck and said, ‘You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me.'” His toughness on the mafia in Las Vegas even led to a bomb being strapped on his car…blah blah blah.
Basically, Harry Reid is like a honey badger; he doesn’t give a shit. He is most likely serving his last term in the Senate and he’s is plainly tired of fucking around with Republicans.
*** Anywhoozles, I can’t wait for Obama and Reid’s press conference after the CR is finally passed. Hopefully, they’ll walk to the podium with this beat playing in the background:
Also, the exponent of the gravitational coupling constant between an electron and a proton is… “42”
Oh, and THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY DOUGLAS ADAMS is “42” Characters.
The Ultimate Question is the actual question behind the question, “What is the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything?” If we get the answer, what does it mean, what does it matter, and why did we even need it now that we have it? What will substantially change?
There is no meaning to life, as one could argue from a truly objective point of view based on the sum of accepted scientific knowledge. That could change in the future, but in our current time and place in the universe, based on our knowledge, we are just the highly advanced adaptable children of alien bacteria, who were lucky enough to evolve on a planet which developed to be so dynamic that we had the chance to become what we call “higher functioning beings”, able to question our own existence like no other combination of materials ever known..