|King Faisal, during his brief reign as King of Greater Syria, third from left, 1919|
Today's encore selection -- from The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, Britain carved the new country of Iraq out of the defeated Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to protect its access to newly discovered oil fields and its imperial possessions in Asia. The new country is an illogical aggregation of factions -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds among them -- that are so hostile to each other it almost immediately led Britain to bomb some of its villages. The British recruited an out-of-work king to preside over the ill-fated land:
"During the war, London had encouraged Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, to take the lead in raising an Arab revolt against Turkey. This he did, beginning in 1916, aided by a few Englishmen, of whom the most famous was T.E. Lawrence -- Lawrence of Arabia. In exchange, Hussein and his sons were to be installed as the rulers of the various, predominantly Arab, constituents of the Turkish empire. Faisal, third son of Hussein, was generally considered the most able. ...
"The British put Faisal on the throne of the newly created nation of Syria, one of the independent states carved out of the extinct Turkish empire. But a few months later, when control of Syria passed to France under the postwar understandings, Faisal was abruptly deposed and turned out of Damascus. He showed up at a railway station in Palestine, where, after a ceremonial welcome by the British, he sat on his luggage waiting for his connection.
|Coronation of Prince Faisal as King of Iraq|
"Faisal's task was enormous; he had not inherited a well-defined nation, but rather a collection of diverse groups -- Shia Arabs and Sunni Arabs, Jews and Kurds and Yazidis -- a territory with a few important cities, most of the countryside under the control of local sheikhs, and with little common political or cultural history, but with a rising Arab nationalism. The minority Sunni Arabs held political power, while the Shia Arabs were by far the most numerous. To complicate things further, the Jews were the largest single group among inhabitants of Baghdad, followed by Arabs and Turks."
|title:||The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power|
|date:||Copyright 1991, 1992, 2008 by Daniel Yergin|
|Kamau Bakari ad, Nevada screen shot|
A while back, I noticed that politicians had started calling people "folks." It was around the same time that I noticed the second-knuckle finger-point. I guess they'd gotten feedback that the whole-finger point seemed a little too parental or something. Then there's that female politician who's riding on the fact that she castrates pigs. Eww. Not a particular mark of pride in my book, but I guess it's working for her. The race to the folksy farm is nothing new in American politics, but it seems to be extra-popular these days. Don't they know we know it's all just so much hooey (to borrow a folksy term)? Or do we all know that?: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/magazine/the-bumpkinification-of-the-midterm-elections.html?_r=0
You can check out the folksiness in action here (story, videos): http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2014-midterm-elections-7-wackiest-political-ads-year-campaign-season-article-1.1985024
Smokey Bear is America's longest running ad campaign. Created in 1944 in response to an increase in wildfires, Smokey Bear ads were used to prevent wildfires. The development of Smokey Bear came during World War II, as many men, including firefighters, were enlisted, and the general public was urged to be more diligent in order to prevent more wildfires. The Forest Service along with the Wartime Advertising Council and Association of State Foresters used posters and slogans to suggest people can prevent fires and win the war.
More about Smokey Bear:
- Prior to Smokey Bear, Disney allowed the use of a Bambi poster for forest
Silence of the Lambs, Rosemary's Baby, Pan's Labyrinth, The Cabin in the Woods ... At the first glimmer of Halloween, out come the horror movies and haunted houses. We decorate our homes with ghosts, ghouls, spiders, and witches. So what makes us so eager to be scared? Have we always been? Is it a global phenomenon? Is there any truth to the scary stories we've heard told around the campfire? Professor Chris French, of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Deborah Hyde, editor of The Skeptic magazine and an expert in werewolves and vampires, explain the phenomenon from a scientific angle (audio): http://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2014/oct/20/halloween-special-science-scary-apparitions-podcast
There are theories about why humans have less facial hair than other mammals (http://somanyinterestingthings.blogspot.com/2014/09/fuzzy-face.html), but there is no doubt that what the male of the species manages to do with what he has puts every other creature to shame. On Oct. 25, that creativity will be on display at the World Beard and Moustache Championship in Portland (slideshow): http://www.oregonlive.com/multimedia/index.ssf/2014/10/contestants_march_in_processio.html
So that's the "follicle" part, but why "debacle"? Well, apparently, there's the U.S. World Beard and Moustache Championships and the European World Beard and Moustache Championships. The European championships came first, but the Americans registered the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: http://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/10/hairy_controversy_surrounds_wo.html#incart_related_stories
The new news is I love you my nudist
the new news is I love you my buddhist
my naked body and budding pleasure
in the weather of your presence
Not whether your presence but how
Oh love a new nodule of neurosis
a posy of new roses proposing
a new era for us nobis pacem
Oh my bodhisattva of new roses
you've saved me from my no-love neurosis
You've saved my old body from the fatwa
Let's lie down in a bed of roses
a pocketful that rings round the rosy
If this is the end of the world my love
let's fall down in bed and die
Let's give a new nod to nothing
Let's give a rosebud to nothing at all
How I love the new roses of nothing
Oh my bodhisattva of nothing
boding I hope no news but this
For our bodies and souls I hope nothing
but the weather of us in our peace
|ISS resupply ship ready for Oct. 27 launch NASA|
|with six shelves of his publications Colm Mulcahy|
Here's an excerpt from David Suzuki's The Nature of Things that focuses on Gardner (video): http://vimeo.com/7176521
|Stephen and Jane, left; Redmayne and Felicity Jones Liam Daniel; Theory of Everything|
It was ten years from the time screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten read Jane Hawking's memoir about her life with the famous astronomer to the screening of his film based on it: http://deadline.com/2014/10/stephen-hawking-film-theory-of-everything-anthony-mccarten-857626/
And here, for those who, like me, immediately wanted to identify each artwork and its painter, is a list by someone who did it for us: http://www.maysstuff.com/womenidorg.htm
|How many solar eclipses have there been in your lifetime? AP/Tourism Queensland|
|a Cairo zabal Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images|
|Los Angeles Times|
|Constance Wilde with son Cyril, 1889|
And a little bit about the man himself, keeping in mind his own quote "The truth is rarely pure and never simple": http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-arts/the-last-laugh-the-tragedy-behind-the-comedy-of-the-importance-of-being-earnest
|Monterey Bay Aquarium|
|shipping-container homes, Kilis refugee camp, Turkey Umit Bektas/Reuters|
Turkey has been doing what it can (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/magazine/how-to-build-a-perfect-refugee-camp.html?_r=0), but the situation is escalating out of their control: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/syrian-refugees-face-an-increasingly-horrific-situation-in-turkey/280207/
OK, I have to admit that I'm both repelled and intrigued by these experiments and their results. Via optogenetics, or the use of light to study and manipulate nerve cells, neuroscientists were able to erase a specific memory in mice. They were also able to study how the cortex and the hippocampus interrelate when it comes to the storage and retrieval of memories. "The cortex can't do it alone; it needs input from the hippocampus," UC Davis's Brian Wiltgen explained. "This has been a fundamental assumption in our field for a long time, and [Kazumasa Tanaka's] data provide the first direct evidence that it is true": http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141009163803.htm
|archaeologist with the beautiful 'Miriam' screen shot|
Today's encore selection -- from Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1 by Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens attempted to write his autobiography over several decades but never finished, and instructed that the draft not be made available for 100 years. In recently released manuscripts, Clemens wrote of his early schoolboy friendships with black slaves, including characters that appeared later in his most famous fictional works:
"All the negroes were friends of ours, and with those of our own age we were in effect comrades. I say in effect, using the phrase as a modification. We were comrades, and yet not comrades; color and condition interposed a subtle line which both parties were
|George H.W. Bush's inaugural address weighs in at grade level 5.9. ABC News|
The Wanton Life
For my son Ramiro,
sentenced to 28 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections
The long fingers of a wanton life,
from the ends of a twisted highway,
pull at us with the perfume of the streets
and its myriad romances,
all intoxicating, gripping at our skins;
as blasts of late-night shoot-outs,
the taste of a woman's wet neck in a dark alley,
and the explosion of liquor bottles
against a cinder-block wall
free us from the normal world,
while chaining us to the warped cement walks
of our diminished existence.
I run with you inside of me
entering layers of darkness,
into the swaddling of night,
with accelerating thoughts,
in the velocity of the city's demands,
|underwater museum, Black Sea AP/Sergey Dolzhenko|
|screen shot (obviously!)|
|Guevara in Bolivia, 1967 AFP|
In this chapter of the BBC's Witness series, Cuban-born CIA agent Felix Rodriguez recalls the day he went to meet Ernesto (Che) Guevara after his capture in Bolivia. Rodriguez was one of the last ~ if not the last ~ men to talk to the revolutionary. Their conversation, and Guevara's execution soon after, took place on Oct. 9. 1967 (video): http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29475393
|the Hibernator Cavendish Press|
The first restaurant in the world opened in 1765 in Paris, France. Historical documentation refers to a man by the name of A. Boulanger, a soup vendor, as the owner of an establishment in the Rue du Louvre district of Paris. Boulanger is credited with being the first businessman to use the word "restaurant" on his establishment. "Restaurant" originally was a French word that referred to bouillon-based soups that were said to restore health and strength. The sign outside of the restaurant is
|Duany in The Good Lie Bob Mahoney/Warner Bros.|
|Havana, 2013 Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images|
There are an estimated 900,000 different types of species of bugs that have been discovered and classified, and the ratio of bugs to mammals on Earth is thought to be approximately 312 to 1. Researchers believe that bugs outnumber humans and other mammals because they can survive on a large variety of matter, such as decomposing matter, plants, other insects, and don’t have to be as competitive with other bugs for food. Insects are also able to live in a larger range of climates and environments than
"In Europe there's a lot more coverage of international news," said Farleigh Dickinson University poli sci professor Dan Cassino. "It's much easier to ignore international politics if you live in the U.S." Fighting words (though, admittedly, probably true). Cassino was being quoted in a BBC News story about a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,002 U.S. adults in which several questions, having to do mainly with foreign
The beginnings of this story lie far back in time, and its reverberations still sound today. But for me a central incandescent moment, one that illuminates long decades before and after, is a young man's flash of moral recognition.
The year is 1897 or 1898. Try to imagine him, briskly stepping off a cross-Channel steamer, a forceful, burly man, in his mid-twenties, with a handlebar mustache. He is confident and well spoken, but his British speech is without the polish of Eton or Oxford. He is well dressed, but the clothes are not from Bond Street. With an ailing mother and a wife and growing family to support, he is not the sort of person likely to get caught up in an idealistic cause. His ideas are thoroughly conventional. He looks—and is—every inch the sober, respectable businessman.
Edmund Dene Morel is a trusted employee of a Liverpool shipping line. A subsidiary of the company has the monopoly on all transport of cargo to and from the Congo Free
|1995, Marblehead, Mass. Nicholas Nixon|
|early 1900s postcard from Boense, Belgian Congo|
... a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.
Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.
The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London
http://somanyinterestingthings.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-animals-of-istanbul.html). Happily, it seems that, in Istanbul at least, they really are "community creatures" and seem well care for. One group in the States is hoping to change people's minds here about outdoor, or what we call feral, cats: http://www.care2.com/causes/incredible-photos-document-secret-lives-of-street-cats.html
You know those ... umm, interesting little teasers that show up along the bottom of the screen when you're reading an article? "Controversial 'Skinny Pill' Sweeps the Nation," "How To Buy Must-Have Products for Next to Nothing" ~ you know the ones. There are a few companies that generate these "sponsored stories." One of them is Taboola, created in 2007 by a computer programmer who was always a math star but who got his training and experience in an encryption unit of the Israeli Defense Forces: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29322578