Monthly Archives: October 2010

Intimate Music Making by Aleo Blacc

I came across this while surfing the Web; filmed as a “Take-Away Show,” it’s a fantastic, intimate moment of music making.


Sir Ken Robinson on Breaking Down Schools

Ken Robinson is a very witty, pointed thinker, whose major complaint is that education (and by extension, society) is founded on false premises and destroys creativity, self-knowledge, and happiness. This talk, animated by RSAnimate, is a gem.

RIP, Benoit Mandelbrot

Today marks the death of the brilliant polymath who discovered that, “Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules, …repeated without end.” Click on the fractal to the right for a dizzying (10-minute) immersion in fractals. Benoit Mandelbrot (Benjamin Almondbread), growing up under the Occupation of France knew every day could be his last, he said, so he dreamed big–and discovered fractal geometry, applying the computer some very old math problems. He talks about his life and his discoveries in this TED talk.:

The image is by Wolfgangbeyer, wikimedia commons

Newsweek Gets Wet

The cover image on the October 18 Newsweek is very splashy body of water and the words: LIQUID ASSET: Big Business and the Race to Control the World’s Water. I am a little afraid that by the time Newsweek considers something like this front page news, the takeover of water has already taken place. In some sense that’s true, the author notes: trends toward privatization are up and people in the industry see it is inevitable. Newsweek appears to agree with the UN that water  is a human right, concedes that it’s running out, and calls on business and governments  to work together to solve the multiple, interlocking problems of infrastructure, equity, and a clean environment.

The article skirts the ownership issue, which would have a huge impact on the kinds of businesses that would be involved in water issues. If, for example, water belongs to “us all” or “the government” then businesses have opportunities to create efficient systems for delivering water, safely, to all people. If, on the other hand, water can be owned, and purchased and packaged in the name of making a profit, then we are in very deep shit indeed.

It does not seem rational to entrust a necessity of life to a legal fiction dedicated to making a profit above all else.




El Ultimo Minero

What has been as amazing as watching, in real time, the 33 Chilean miners be rescued from their 68 day limbo in a rock chamber two thousand feet below the surface? It was as magnificent a technical feat as sending men to the moon; they even called it a capsule, the metal cage they cranked the men back to the surface in.

The only ongoing coverage we could find was “coloratura interrompo” offered by the two Spanish-speaking stations we get. American television (basic cable anyway) ignored it. I don’t know why, it was pretty sexy, the capsule rising with a man inside recapitulating penis-in-vagina as it was inserted into the tube that would lead to the sky. And then it emerged like a baby crowning, Chile its name in clear capitals,  a brilliant branding by the Chilean people and media everywhere.

The capsule itself got more beautiful, more scarred and dirty, each time it writhed through the zig-zagging tunnel 2000 feet to the surface. It is destined for a museum. The whole effort was a monument to human ability. A great moment for the Chilean people, an incredible achievement–mesmerizing–like a great accident in reverse.

So many tears, so much anxiety in the expressions of those who waited above–the young woman who chewed her nails and drew her sweater sleeves down over her wrists, the other young woman who held her man in a long tongue kiss, the mother and son reunion, mistress who came instead of the wife, the daughter whose face betrays her love and fear. El Ultimo, the leader, though: No one greeted him, besides the president and other dignitaries. He kept the men together but apparently had no family, perhaps a son. No fathers at all, it seemed. Although if they were the fathers of miners, perhaps they were themselves miners, already gone.

Nina Simone

My stepson tagged this amazing version of House of the Rising Sun

And there was this other incredible version of Mississippi Goddam, live, from the 1960s.

And live from Montreux, 1976, sweet piano and powerful song: I Wish I Knew (How It Feels to Be Free)

Feelings–she stops at point to ask, what kind of world would drive a person to write a song like this? Not to mention Do What You’ve Gotta Do, although it breaks off at the end. Great song.

Green Movies

Good response to the poster and flyer for the Green Movies: Sustainable Futures series. The poster is truncated because I couldn’t confirm two of the sponsors and at the last minute cut off the bottom sixth of the poster. The original looks better.