Friday, February 20, 2015

Argo - 1979 revisted

Argo, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2012, is set in 1979. It covers the overrun of the USA embassy in Tehran.  Six American embassy personnel had fled the embassy and took secret refuge in the Canadian embassy. The movie shows the battle of wits between two cultures. The US trying to create a short-term believable cover story, and the Iranians trying to identify all the embassy personnel from shredded documents, and determine which documents and stories were real and who really was leaving the country. The rescue was brash and successful.

The movie integrates video footage at the time, and the video image was treated to give it a period 1979 look. A excellent movie, go see it. Trailer

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kinky Boots at Theatre under the Stars

A few years ago I saw the British movie of the same story, it was excellent, and here was the musical production.

The story is loosely based on a real event, about a shoemaker in the north of England that had not kept up with fashion and the global market, and was practically bankrupt. They were making shoes that were unsellable. In London the owner meets Lola, a drag queen, way outside his social circle, but she is the source of a new line of business for the ailing company.

The name Lola was probably inspired by the 1970 song by the Kinks.

Back to the musical, it dragged. Go rent the movie, and listen to the live version of Lola by the Kinks....

Well I'm not the world's most physical guy 

But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine 
Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola 
Well I'm not dumb but I can't understand 
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man 
Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You have to be kidding

"Religion and Hip Hop Culture" class at Rice University

Rice is one of the top 20 universities in the USA, and it takes six weeks to cover the material

Course description starts:

What is religion? What is Hip-Hop? Are they the same thing? Do they overlap? Over six weeks we’ll get a sense of how some individuals answer these questions, and you’ll get the tools you need to explore these questions for yourselves.


Monday, February 16, 2015

What creature lives here?

Ten meters up, high in a pecan tree, is a large nest made of twigs. Hidden until the leaves fell. What mythical creature built this nest? It had sensitive skin, the nest is lined with soft fuzzy material.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Zoos, relics of history

Zoos are places to gawk at animals. In the days before the internet, global travel, TV, and modern understand of animals, they made sense.

Now things are different. Zoos have tried to mitigate the feelings of animals by giving them space and better, more social, conditions, but it cannot be enough for all but the smallest of creatures.

Zoos have moved into scientific research and do good work, with the preservation of species, maintaining gene pools and diversity. But their core business is to display live animals.

So let us close down the display of animals at zoos. How much pleasure do we get from looking at a captive animal?  We should care about the feelings of our fellow creatures. Nature is cruel enough as it is, we should not add to it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chelation - Organic action on the Inorganic

Chelation is the process where organic compounds preferentially attach to metals.  It can be used to
extract toxic metals from a person's body, or remove rust from iron and steel in a water-soluble biodegradable liquid.

The fungal part of lichens can synthesis chelating agents that can bind to metals and provide metals to the alga; symbiotic dependency.

Organic chelate binding metal
In geology organic chelating agents can speed the weathering of rocks and extract metals so they are available to plants and organisms. Before land plants, that is before 450 mya, chelation was much less active.