Phantom Cosmonauts On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin, the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most tend to disagree, and offer an excellent debunking.
I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing. posted by Snyder at 5:12 PM PST - 18 comments
Come and Be Black for Me. A gentle but pointed personal essay on Black History month. "I am glad February is almost over. It's during this month that everyone is looking for me - or rather, anyone who can come and be black for them." posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:55 PM PST - 5 comments
Hey you, XYZ! Look at your zipper -- was it made by Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, or YKK? Probably. With seven million zippers produced every day at YKK America's National Manufacturing Center in Macon, Georgia, alone, it's no wonder that the zipper on whatever you're wearing right now is a YKK...or is it? [a bit more inside] posted by DakotaPaul at 1:07 PM PST - 28 comments
The decadence of American democracy is the subject of Daniel Ellsberg’s memoir. In 1971, as a disillusioned Pentagon staffer, he leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. As usual for London Review of Books, it’s a long-ish essay but para 17 alone is a breathtaking confession of top brass arrogance. Link to the second half of essay at foot of page or here. posted by skellum at 12:31 PM PST - 12 comments
In an article called "The Sociobiological Conceit", Gene Callahan says darwinism is logically flawed and inherently self-contradictory: "if moral ideas are simply an 'illusion' fostered on us by our genes then so are all of our other ideas – including the ideas of sociobiology!".
Callahan, fyi, belongs to the ultra-libertarian circles of the Mises Institute and LewRockwell. Would any of the evolutionists among us care to politely refute him? posted by 111 at 11:16 AM PST - 20 comments
"We decided not to run it..." In the surreal world that is today's media, Colin Powell has no opposition. None. There is no alternative view. None. In this Kafkaesque place, Reps. DeFazio and Paul didn't conduct a press conference yesterday. Nor did they introduce legislation that counters George Bush and Colin Powell's world view...a world view, mind you, that the world doesn't share.
Does corporate media serve the interests of the people and democracy or the elites and profit? Did you hear about this bill? Do you think this is an important story that deserved media coverage? posted by nofundy at 10:09 AM PST - 45 comments
Baby, It's Cold Outside: Perhaps it's unethical - well, it's certainly incestuous - to draw your attention to one of madamjujujive's great links on quonsar's brilliant Meepzorp blog ("Where, thank the Lord, it is always Friday" - Christian Science Monitor, 18.12.76). But what about linking two? Bouncing Baby and Gulp are two great Flash pieces that address the question of nurture; motherhood; the oral nature of pleasure; the ontology of fuzzy gratification; the metaphysics of the transition from womb to nipple and other meretricious bullshit justifications for fun. posted by Carlos Quevedo at 8:52 AM PST - 3 comments
Mars is a case of what political theorists would call a perfect state of nature. No one lives on Mars. No one currently has legal title to any part of Mars. On what basis then can Mars be exploited by individuals or consortia?
Michael feels betrayed and I'm kind of with him on this one. I thought I would just check in on the Jackson special for a few minutes, but I stuck around, mainly because I literally could not believe what I was seeing. What I was waiting for never actually happened: some concession that what was being exploited was not so much a celebrity as someone who is mentally ill. The interviewer's questions (often repeated emphatically for shock value) and Barbara Walters' snarky commercial-break comments seemed a bit on the cruel side when discussing someone who has so little grounding in reality.
I can understand the concern about children, Jackson's and others; there is clearly a cycle of abuse (though clearly unintended on Jackson's part), and it is something legal authorities should address; however, I would question opening those issues up on television and trying to assign Jackson motives he is clearly not mature enough, sexually or otherwise, to comprehend, not to mention their own exploitation of the children for ratings. posted by troybob at 8:42 AM PST - 67 comments
What's wrong with these pictures? I thought I knew at least a little bit about art until I took this quiz. That, plus the blurb about spider-goats (eew!) makes me think that maybe decaf isn't strong enough to kick-start my brain this Friday morning. posted by Oriole Adams at 5:48 AM PST - 22 comments
Bush orders guidelines for cyber-war Is it my old age that makes me wonder what else might be in this secret directive as regards computers and the Net?
"First set of rules for attacking enemy computers studied."
Perhaps you support the president or you are the enemy (recall: you are with us or against us).... posted by Postroad at 5:27 AM PST - 7 comments
Stones in My Pathway - in the tradition of Alan Lomax, Bill Steber is a photojournalist who is documenting Mississippi blues culture. His work includes an array of photos, music clips and interviews capturing the environment that spawned the music, spanning "juke joints, cotton farming, sacred music, rural church services, river baptisms, folk religion and superstition, life on Parchman penitentiary, hill country African fife and drum music, and diverse regional blues styles."
A beautiful site and jewel of a find for blues buffs. via Portage posted by madamjujujive at 5:09 AM PST - 15 comments
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster - Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned. posted by y2karl at 12:32 AM PST - 29 comments