Saturday, April 27, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Meet the Man Who Got Deported From Saudi Arabia For Being "Too Handsome"
When Saudi Arabia is not busy shutting down educational dinosaur exhibitions for no apparent reason, it is protecting the rights of Saudi women from the evils of good-looking men.
The Telegraph reports that three men were in attendance at the annual Jenadrivah Heritage & Culture Festival in Riyadh when they were seized by the religious police and later deported because "they are too handsome." One of the men (pictured below) is Omar Borkan Al Gala, an actor, poet and fashion photographer from Dubai.
Monday, April 22, 2013
1985, the orchestra has since performed in many worldwide venues, including New York's Carnegie Hall (2009, 2012), the Sydney Opera House (2012), London's Royal Albert Hall (2008, 2012) and Glastonbury Festival. TV appearances have included: Jools Holland's Hootenanny, BBC Radio 2 Electric Proms, Blue Peter, The Slammer, Richard & Judy, This Morning and Skins.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
PROOF OF HEAVEN
Heaven has an edge over every other construct of the human imagination because, built into the design, alongside the fabulous promise that we can, after all, live forever, is a catch. We can never try it out and report back. There are no return tickets. And, before Richard Dawkins points it out, yes, of course, that means that even if every single one of us is ultimately disappointed when we catapult into oblivion, we have no way of warning those who come after us.
That, at least, is the theory. But when we are told that sneak previews are impossible, we instinctively try to find a way round the restriction. So on the cover of this week's Newsweek, neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander, who has taught at Harvard Medical School, boldly announces to the world that he has cheated death, visited Shakespeare's "undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns", and come back to tell us all in his imaginatively titled book, Proof of Heaven.
In 2008, Alexander was struck down by meningitis and spent seven days in a coma. Science says that, during this ordeal, everything should have gone blank since his neocortex wasn't functioning. But this celestial Columbus claims that, while apparently flat out, he was actually on "a hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey" to the final frontier. He floated over fluffy clouds, met "transparent … shimmering beings" and was guided through this timeless world by a beguiling female. It was all, he writes reassuringly, "an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting".
At least he didn't mention a bright white light, but in every other way his account contains just about heavenly cliche known to humankind. Proof of Heaven may have a certain cachet because its author is, by profession, "a man of science", and therefore, by the crude logic of our secular, sceptical 21st-century society, better placed than most to see through the ultimate claim of religion, but this book sounds like pretty run-of-the-mill near-death experience literature.And there's plenty of it around. The International Association for Near-Death Studies, founded in 1981, claims to speak for a constituency of 15 million in the US alone. In hugely popular books such as psychologist Raymond Moody's Life After Life, thousands of travellers report back on an extra-terrestrial world of painlessness, mysticism, peculiar light and beautiful but intangible guides to a divine pleasure dome.
What is most remarkable about these accounts is how similar they are to each other and to a whole literature that stretches back through the centuries. Once, the very same topography was part of the beatific vision, fashioned by Christian theologians such as Saint Augustine as a heavenly landscape to frame the face of God.
The similarities prompt one of two responses. Either it must be true because so many people say it is. Or they are borrowing from each other one of the biggest collective delusions we have ever known. Or, perhaps, there is a third, more plausible explanation.
At its most simple, all of these pictures of after-life touch on the most basic of human needs, something that predates written language, philosophy and even religion itself. From the time the first Neanderthal sat next to the lump of dead protein that had been his or her mate and realised that something had to be done about the smell of rotting flesh, we have wanted there to be something more, something beyond death. When that body was put into a ditch, or pushed over a ledge into a ravine, the one left behind looked into the void and ached.
The myths, traditions and literature, the shamans and soothsayers, the priests and popes, the poets, writers and dramatists, have subsequently all tried to picture an after-life to take the sting out of that yearning. And, lest I be accused of having a closed mind (which I don't), of the uncertainty. Alexander, then, is just the latest in a long line.
There has, though, always been a tension in such fevered – or coma-induced – imaginings. For what most religions have taught is that heaven, paradise, nirvana, jannah, or whatever they have called it, is ineffable, beyond words, beyond imagination.
Photograph: Ron Edmonds/AP
Friday, April 19, 2013
So when “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski set about designing a spacecraft for Tom Cruise to pilot in his next film, the sci-fi thriller “Oblivion,” due in theaters April 19, he knew the stakes were high.
Based on a 2010 graphic novel Kosinski penned with comic book writer Arvid Nelson, “Oblivion” takes place in a not-so-distant future when Earth has been decimated by an alien invasion, and former Marine Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of a few people left on the planet to mop up after the war.
The movie, written by William Monahan, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt, also stars Morgan Freeman as a 102-year-old insurgency leader, Melissa Leo as Jack’s authoritarian boss and Olga Kurylenko as a mysterious woman who stirs Jack’s memories.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Henry Benjamin Greenberg (Hammerin' Hank)
Henry Benjamin Greenberg (Hammerin' Hank)
Positions: First Baseman and Leftfielder
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3", Weight: 210 lb.
Born: January 1, 1911 in New York, NY
High School: James Monroe HS (Bronx, NY)
Signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers in 1929. (All Transactions)
Debut: September 14, 1930 (Age 19)
Teams (by GP): Tigers/Pirates 1930-1947
Final Game: September 18, 1947 (Age 36)
Inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 1956 (164/193 ballots).
View Hank Greenberg Page at the Baseball Hall of Fame (plaque, photos, videos).
Died: September 4, 1986 in Beverly Hills, CA (Aged 75)
Buried: Hillside Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA
Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic
Though we’ve known the upcoming Richard Pryor documentary was set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, now there’s a date when non-festival attendees can bask in the glory of the iconic comedian’s life. On Friday, May 31, Showtime will air Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic, according to Deadline, who explains the film, “chronicles Pryor’s life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century.
pop music singer in the 1940s and 1950s.
Her musical talent may have been inherited; her father Richard Whiting, was a famous composer of popular songs. She also had an aunt, Margaret Young, who was also a singer and popular recording artist in the 1920s. In her childhood her singing ability was already noticed, and at the age of only seven she sang for singer-lyricist Johnny Mercer, with whom her father had worked on some popular songs. In 1942, Mercer started Capitol Records with two partners, and signed her as one of their earliest recording artists.
Honoring "The Little Tramp"
Charlie Chaplin impersonators tramped through the streets of a small port town in western India to celebrate the birthday of the Hollywood silent-film legend.
Chaplin has an odd resonance in this industrial town. Surrounded by salt flats bordering the Thar desert, Adipur's only claim to fame is the annual parade — now in its 40th year — to honor the filmmaker and comic actor known for his "Tramp" character.
More than 100 people participated in the parade that included brass bands, camel carts and open jeeps carrying life-sized cut-outs of Chaplin. Men and women dressed in crumpled black suits and carrying canes practiced the cheerful bowlegged walk of the Tramp as the parade made its way through the streets.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Officials say the $32-million high-technology system offers the Navy a weapon a fraction of the cost of its traditional arsenal -- cruise missiles, as well as rapid-fire Gatling guns.
"Our conservative data tells us a shot of directed energy costs under $1," Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder said in a statement. "Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability."
At $97,395, the SRT Viper is the most expensive car on the list of "Top Ten Collector's cars of the future.". "The redesigned coupe has more power than ever with its 8.4 liter V10 engine, 640 horsepower and absurd 600 lb-ft of torque — 'the most torque of any naturally aspirated engine currently produced,' according to Chrysler. We applaud the Viper as one of the last living examples of the once-celebrated mantra of "there is no replacement for displacement.' "
Sunday, April 07, 2013
For those who never saw any of the Burma Shave signs,here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's.Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over thecountryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signswith white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, eachcontaining 1 line of a 4 line couplet......and the obligatory5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.Here are more of the actual signs:DON'T STICK YOUR ELBOW
OUT SO FAR
IT MAY GO HOME
IN ANOTHER CAR.BURMA SHAVE
TRAINS DON'T WANDER
ALL OVER THE MAP
'CAUSE NOBODY SITS
IN THE ENGINEER'S LAP
SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
HER HUSBAND JAKE
DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT
DROVE TOO LONG
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
GOOD MORNING, NURSE
TO HER RECKLESS DEAR
LET'S HAVE LESS BULL
AND A LITTLE MORE STEER
SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED TO A WARMER
AROUND THE CURVE
NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU
A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN
IS NOT THINKIN'
HE'S JUST HOPIN'
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT IT'S HARD TO PLAY
BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT'S THE SKILLFUL
THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKING
CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.
PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE
Do these bring back any old memories?If not, you're merely a child.If they do - then you're old as dirt..LIKE ME
Barra de Valizas
Saturday, April 06, 2013
"The Japanese Gardens of North America"
North America." Shown above is the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.
The X-51A Waverider is expected to fly at six times the speed of sound
The US air force is testing an experimental aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound, or about 4,600mph.
The X-51A Waverider will be dropped from a B-52 bomber at around 50,000ft over the Pacific Ocean before attempting to achieve speeds that would see it fly from New York to Los Angeles in 46 minutes.
It is the third test of the hypersonic aircraft in the last two years. The earlier incarnations failed to fly for the 300 seconds that engineers hope the X-51A will be able to sustain, leading to tweaks to the craft's engine ahead of the next launch.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the X-51A, which is unmanned, is expected to reach Mach 6 when it takes flight off the Southern California coast near Point Mugu. The aim of flying for five minutes is longer than the aircraft's personal best, which came in 2010 when it flew for more than three minutes.
L.A.-Ontario International Airport experiencing decline
“We strongly urge the Department of Transportation to closely examine Los Angeles World Airport’s governance of Ontario International Airport,” the congressmen wrote to LaHood. “Without action, we are precariously close to losing the airport, a vital component to the economic health of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.”
Monday, April 01, 2013
MADRID — The horses trot softly across sandy terrain and scrubby oak brush on Spain's central plateau, their riders listening for a rustle in the leaves, searching for a patch of wiry black fur betrayed by the sun.
Finally, the hunters spot their prey. Ranch owner Ramiro Maura breaks the silence.
"Venga! Arriba!" Maura screams — "Come! Up here!" The riders yank their reins in unison, aim their spears and urge their horses up steep terrain laced with shriveled tree roots and boulders. Ducking low-slung branches, they race across Mother Nature's obstacle course, in feverish pursuit of a giant wild boar on the run.
The sport went unnoticed by animal rights groups until last summer, when the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha, south of the Spanish capital, included pigsticking in its updated hunting regulations. Rules now specify how many riders may be armed (four) and limit hunting to full-sized boar during certain periods outside the creatures' mating season. The region is also considering plans to sell off some public land to be converted into private hunting reserves.
"It's something I think most Spanish citizens are not aware of. If they were, I'm sure a great percentage of them would be against this kind of cruel sport," said Sharon Nuñez, a spokeswoman for the group Animal Equality.