Time to get angry, courtesy of Elisabeth Bumiller and The New York Times:
The Pentagon struggled on Wednesday to clarify confusion created by an independent report that said unidentified body parts of some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were incinerated and dumped in a landfill. Top officials promised a full accounting to the victims’ families.
Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the chief of staff of the Air Force, told reporters that only some remains from the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon — but not remains from the plane crash site in Shanksville, Pa., “as best we can tell” — were ordered incinerated by the Department of Defense in what he described as a common practice at the time.
His words were at odds with the independent report, released on Tuesday, into failings at the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The report said that the mortuary had body parts of some Sept. 11 victims from both the Pentagon and Shanksville incinerated and then dumped in a landfill — a startling disclosure that was the latest to tarnish the reputation of Dover, hallowed ground for the military and the entry point for the nation’s war dead.
Bonus Alex Ross material: here’s a piece he wrote for The New Yorker in 2001 about people being obnoxious during concerts:
At the invitation of Lincoln Center, Sellars staged Bach’s Cantata No. 82, “Ich habe genug” (“I have enough”), as the death scene of a woman in a sick ward. The mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson performed in a thin hospital gown, a light bulb shining in her face. As the concert got under way, a listener on the right-hand aisle started muttering to himself, apparently because he found the production offensive. Another listener asked him several times to be quiet, but the mutterer was undeterred. “This is ridiculous,” he was heard to say. “No way to treat Bach.” Then, just before the end of the piece, the mutterer belched, and his neighbor let loose with a bloodcurdling cry of “SHUT UP, ALREADY!” The heft and color of the voice recalled Jackie Gleason in his prime. Unfazed, Lieberson launched into the cantata’s final aria, whose first words were, conveniently, "Mein Gott!"
I’ve been reading Listen to This by Alex Ross, which is pretty cool. Ross is the music critic of The New Yorker, and the book is largely a collection of his writings for the magazine, along with some updates and original material.
Mentioned in the chapter about Björk is a selection of songs from Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire that she performed for a music festival. The fansite Björkish has some info on the performance:
On August 4th, 1996, Björk appeared at the Verbier Festival, and performed Schöenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with conductor Kent Nagano, the Opera orchestra of Lyon, and Murray Hipkin, who later worked with Björk on John Tavener’s Prayer of the Heart.
The performance required three months of rehearsals, and was never officially released.
The decision not to record the performance was actually Björk’s. As explained to Alex Ross in one of his pieces:
"… Kent Nagano wanted to make a recording of it, but I really felt that I would be invading the territory of people who sing this for a lifetime."
Which is a remarkably well-grounded position, and one which I respect, but at the same time I MUST HEAR THIS GIVE THIS TO ME
Girl Scouts are dangerous — and not just to your diet. At least that’s what Indiana lawmaker Bob Morris says. He has labeled the Girls Scouts of America a radical organization that promotes homosexuality and abortion and is out to destroy American values.
Morris said he made his discoveries after talking to some knowledgeable constituents and conducting “a small amount of Web-based research.” He said the discussion and research led to his conclusions that the Girl Scouts encourage sexual activity, are a front for Planned Parenthood, and that scouts are encouraged to look up to role models who endorse feminist, lesbian and Communist agendas.
From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Infinite Jest via Dante, Dangerous Liaisons and Dubliners, the western canon is set to be turned into a 1,344-page, three-volume graphic novel.
The ambitious project from New York press Seven Stories is being hailed as the “graphic publishing literary event of the year”. Each of the 189 works of literature covered is being interpreted by a comics artist, with 130 illustrators contributing to the project including Robert Crumb, Will Eisner and Hunt Emerson. The first volume of The Graphic Canon – “From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons” – is out in April, to be followed by the second (“Kubla Khan to the Brontë Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray”) in July and the third (“From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest”) in October.
My original reaction to this was going to be “what the dickens,” but then I realized what I did there and shot myself.
Natalia Jimenez of msnbc.com wrote a nice piece for MSNBC’s PhotoBlog on Homai Vyarawalla, who is considered to be India’s first female photojournalist. The old photos accompanying it are quite good. Read it; love it.
3ders.org translation of a story from the Dutch newspaper De Pers:
The University of Hasselt (Belgium) announced today that Belgian and Dutch scientists have successfully replacing a lower jaw with a 3D printed model for a 83 year-old woman. According to the researchers, It is the first custom-made implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw.
The lower jaw of the elderly woman was badly infected and needed to be removed. Considering the age of the patient, a “classical” microsurgical reconstructive surgery takes too long time and can be risky. Therefore a tailor-made implant is the best choice.
Normally it takes a few days to produce a custom implant, but with 3D printing technology it takes only a few hours.
Medicine is one of the most exciting applications of 3D printers.
Capcom made an embarrassing printing error on the spine of the Resident Evil: Revelations box sent to reviewers — one made more embarrassing by the “revelaiton” today that it’s still on the version of the art sent to retailers in advance of Tuesday’s release.
Reader Zach shared this picture of the stock at the Prescott, AZ store, showing “Revelaitons” all the way down — Joystiq has since confirmed the error with the store.
One of the most contentious crimes in recent Nevada history was the murder of Brianna Denison, a young woman who was killed by serial rapist James Biela. In response to the case, a bill dubbed “Brianna’s Law,” which would require anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony (not necessarily convicted) to have their DNA sampled, was introduced in the Nevada Legislature in 2011. It blasted through the Assembly, but it wasn’t taken up by the full Senate largely because of privacy and financial concerns. Samantha Stone wrote up a long piece on the bill for Nevada News Channel if this actually interests you.
The Nevada legislature meets only every other year, so the next time the bill can be reintroduced is 2013. According to Reno Gazette-Journal political reporter Ray Hagar, Assemblyman Kelly Kite of Minden plans to do just that if he’s re-elected:
"My grandson is in Afghanistan right now and they took his fingerprints and DNA and he will never have a chance to get that taken out of the file," Kite said. "If you are arrested for a felony, I don’t see where you would have more rights than someone defending our country."
Hey jackass, maybe we should just not treat our veterans like shit, how about that.
The [Wright] brothers rented space for their first [bicycle] shop from 1892 to 1893 at the site where a vacant building now stands, according to Edward Roach, historian with the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
The city-owned structure — the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building — contains three exterior walls of the two-story building that housed the brothers’ shop, said Roane Smothers, principal planner for Dayton and part of its Landmark Commission staff.
Dayton officials say demolition of the Gem City building might be necessary because it is falling apart and attempts to find someone to provide the money and a viable plan to rehabilitate it have been unsuccessful.
Sad story, but as you can see from the photos accompanying the article, the building is in serious disrepair.
This new McDonald’s ad that appeared on the side of the road in California has more staying power than any regular billboard because it’s actually illegal to remove. The sign is actually the result of a seed bombing where the shape of the famous golden arches is made up of yellow California Poppies.
Letters of Note posted this amazing telling off by ex-slave Jourdon Anderson of his former master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, after the colonel requested Jourdon return to work for him:
Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to.
Josh Fischman, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
A protest against Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific journal publisher, is rapidly gaining momentum since it began as an irate blog post at the end of January. By Tuesday evening, about 2,400 scholars had put their names to an online pledge not to publish or do any editorial work for the company’s journals, including refereeing papers.
The boycott is growing so quickly—it had about 1,800 signers on Monday—that Elsevier officials on Tuesday broke their official silence to respond to protesters’ accusations that they charge too much and support laws that will keep research findings bottled up behind a company paywall.
With the rise of the internet and along with it the arXiv, the issue of free access to (publicly-funded or otherwise) scientific papers has slowly fomented and come to a head. While arXiv provides access to preprints (i.e. un-peer reviewed copies of papers) it’s difficult to find and search for the final versions of older articles. And if you do find what you’re looking for, there’s no guarantee the paper will remain there long-term.
Fantastic news. Here’s Jillian Rayfield of TPM on what’s next for the legal challenge to the 2008 California ballot measure which disallowed same-sex couples from marrying:
Supporters of Prop 8 now have the chance to petition for rehearing en banc — which, if granted, would mean an eleven-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit would hear the case — or to appeal straight to the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit can also vote to hear an en banc appeal either way.
An international team of scientists conducting research in the Amazon River Basin announced the discovery of a formerly unknown primate species inhabiting a remote jungle area roughly 300 miles from Manaus Monday. According to scientists in Manaus, the new species, Ateles saporis, is “an amazing biological find” and “incredibly delectable.”
"We couldn’t be more thrilled!" German researcher Dr. Jerome Keller told reporters Tuesday. "Very few scientists are lucky enough to discover a new species, let alone a mammal with a palatability on par with a tender, juicy steak."
"This is a seriously tasty creature," Keller added.
A treasure hunter said Wednesday he has located the wreck of a British merchant ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Cape Cod during World War II while carrying what he claims was a load of platinum bars now worth more than $3 billion.
Treasure hunter Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research in Gorham, Maine, announced that a wreck found sitting in 700 feet of water 50 miles offshore is that of the S.S. Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942.
He hasn’t brought up any platinum yet, though, and if he does there’ll surely be some kind of ownership dispute.
Michael J. Cohen, writing for Fast Company’s Co.Exist blog:
The common plastic is used for everything from garden hoses to shoes and truck seats. Once it gets into the trash stream, it persists for generations. Anyone alive today is assured that their old garden hoses and other polyurethane trash will still be here to greet his or her great, great grandchildren. Unless something eats it.
The fungi, Pestalotiopsis microspora, is the first anyone has found to survive on a steady diet of polyurethane alone and—even more surprising—do this in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment that is close to the condition at the bottom of a landfill.
If this pans out, it could be a huge deal. Of course, now I’m imagining this fungi getting lose and dissolving plastic everywhere, forcing us to invent a new type of plastic that’s impervious to it. AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES…
Sad news from Lauren Keiper, Jill Serjeant, and Piya Sinha-Roy of Reuters:
Don Cornelius, creator of the iconic TV music and dance show “Soul Train” that helped introduce Americans to black pop culture, died on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head, Los Angeles officials said.
Cornelius was born in 1936 in Chicago and as an adult, became a journalist who was active in the civil rights movement. For a time, he worked at local radio station WVON, and by the late 1960s he had dreamed up the idea of a TV show dedicated to the soulful sounds of African-American music.
"Soul Train" was born with the deep-voiced Cornelius as the host who gave hip kids of the ’70s what "American Bandstand" creator Dick Clark offered TV viewers in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll — a show mixing youth, music, fashion and pop culture.
Soul Train was an amazingly important show in the ’70s and ’80s. Did you know it ran until 2006? It did!
Emily Lakdawalla writes on The Planetary Society’s blog about the possibility of life on Venus. You know shit is getting real when the second paragraph begins with this sentence: “The story is so obviously ridiculous that I would ordinarily not give it a second thought.”
Tommy Westphall was an austistic child on the TV series St Elsewhere who, it was revealed in the closing moments of the final episode of that series, had dreamt the entire run of the show.
What’s this about his Mind?
St Elsewhere has direct connections to twelve other television series - many of them direct crossovers of character to and from the series. Others make mention of specific parts of the St Elsewhere fictional universe, placing them within the same fictional sphere.
If St Elsewhere exists only within Tommy Westphall’s mind, then so does every other series set within the same fictional sphere.
So begins a horrifying waste of time where two hundred and eighty-two TV shows are connected to one another through a web of references and crossovers.