On August 21st this year, a solar eclipse will sweep across continental USA for the first time in decades. Between 10:15am in Oregon and 2:49pm in South Carolina, the sun will be blotted out in parts of 14 states to greatly varying degrees, with all of the contiguous United States seeing at least a partial eclipse. This iteration belongs to Saros 145; the longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds just south of Carbondale, Illinois and the greatest extent will be between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. The best place to view? Depends, even as towns vie for viewers and predict the masses. While astronomers are excited, prophets are worried. Also, a google map, resource bibliography and an alien invasion.
With only six months left in the all-too-brief election campaign, three candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties remain. In the red corner, Donald has vanquished Ben, Bobby, Carly, Chris, George, Jeb, Jim, John, Lindsey, Marco, Mike, Rand, Rick, the other Rick, Scott, and Ted. In the blue corner, Bernie and Hillary have vanquished Jim, Lawrence, Lincoln and Martin. However, there is pessimism about whether Donald can win the general, with bookmaker odds stabilizing and keeping Hillary as the clear favorite. Elsewhere, Sarah doesn't like Paul, Lindsey is glad he isn't in Area 51, Gary Johnson "could" become POTUS, and Jeb sort-of returns. Meanwhile, Bernie collects more delegates in Washington state, while Hillary wins the Guam caucus. And, on the island of his mother's birth, war has broken out between rival facebook groups for and against Donald. [more inside]
Today, Nebraska unveiled a new license plate design to commemorate the state's 150th anniversary. It's a simple design, particularly when contrasted with past plates. The sole design feature is that of The Sower, the statue that's mounted on top of the State Capitol in Lincoln. Being the Internet, there's already reaction to the new design, particularly as to what The Sower appears to be doing with his hand.
It's another day of multi-state voting in the live version of House of Cards otherwise known as Election 2016. On the Republican side, four candidates remain: Rafael Edward Cruz, John Richard Kasich, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Donald John Trump. On the Democrat side, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard Sanders continue their fight. As the math becomes clearer, and with several months still to go before potentially feisty party conventions, the odds [Oddschecker] [PredictWise] remain on both Clinton and Trump as the favorites to win their respective nominations. More on today's voting from ABC, Fortune and USA Today, while on the horizon, in-person voting begins in Florida... [more inside]
In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon has struck down the state's anti-SSM laws as unconstitutional. He has issued an injunction allowing the state until March 9th to appeal.
Bruce Dern is a life-long runner. Three interviews with Runner's World discuss his obsession with running and how it interplays with his acting. From 1978, Running Is a Hard Act to Follow:
In the case of certain roles such as The King of Marvin Gardens, where the character stays with me for months after the movie is over, it is hard to get rid of him. It’s a frustration of the character. I think the same thing is true of running. All of my acting is on the theory of working from the inside out. Everything happens inside and then it comes out and the person grows out of that. Well, the running is the same thing for me. It happens from the inside out. It's the need and the desire that then makes the body go out and do it. And the desire to improve.[more inside]
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
College football attracts a lot of rabid fans. Of late, college football (and football in general) has also attracted an increasing number of stats enthusiasts peddling increasingly obscure metrics to quantify success and failure. At MGoBlog, a popular Michigan fan blog, one intrepid poster has turned the statistics tools on the fanbase itself. A Season in Profanity details the usage of various swear words in open game threads. Among the relationships detailed are the usage of various colorful expressions by game, mood of the fan base by opponent, swearing efficiency, which coach(es) should be fired, and even the individual play outcomes that inspired the greatest amount of swearing. As it was kind of a rough season for the team, there was a substantial amount of data to comb through. [more inside]
On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
At the University of Nebraska's football, Spring Game (essentially a practice scrimmage that is attended by more than 60,000 rabid fans) on Saturday, there was an incredible play that you must see. It was 4th and 1 from the Red's 31 yard line. Into the game came 7-year-old Jack Hoffman, a 7 year old brain cancer patient. Just watch the play. [more inside]
I think it is high time that MeFites meet Michael Forsberg, a Lincoln, Nebraska based Conservation Photographer who works primarily in the Great Plains of North America, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. (His bio.) His goal has been to try to capture the wild spirit that still survives in these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there. His hope is that the images can build appreciation and go to work to inspire conservation efforts on the land far into the future. Here is a great 48 minute presentation that Michael gave at the California Academy of Sciences after completing his most recent book simply entitled "Great Plains". In the video he unselfishly shares not just his photographic images but also his equipment and techniques. [more inside]
78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
On June 7th the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska briefly lost the ability to cool spent fuel rods after a fire at the site. The FAA issued a directive prohibiting aircraft from entering airspace in a two mile radius of the plant. Since last week the plant has been under a "notice of unusual event" because of the Missouri River flooding. Local news reports that the "facility is an island right now". The flight ban remains in effect. [more inside]
We're the makers of Spam. We invented Kool-Aid, and this is where the first Reuben sandwich was made: Right Here in Nebraska. (SLYT) [more inside]
Started in 1930 (by the by the lieutenant governor while the sitting governor was out of state) to protect the great state of Nebraska from all that wish it harm, Nebraska has it's own navy. Want a commission? Just ask the governor and join these notable members.
Science & technology funding has an enormous long term impact on the economy, a fact that has not escaped China. Yet, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have proposed cutting all National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Office of Science funding from the Senate American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, along with almost all other proposed funding of the sciences and technological development, as a part of a $77.9B reduction effort. Why? Well, you'll notice that Nebraska & Maine don't contribute much to science & technology in the United States, nor win many grants, and hence no bacon for Nelson and Collins. [more inside]
"Please don't bring your teenager to Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman told CNN. "Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them."
Safe Haven laws have been around for almost a decade. Not wanting to be left out, Nebraska passed their own this past year, with some possible unintended consequences.
The Willa Cather Archive is an incredible resource provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including biographies, letters, photos, and even full (often annotated) text of much of her writing, including scholarly editions of two of her greatest (and most famous) works, My Antonia and O Pioneers. About the archive.
Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
From the same man who wrote poetry to the state treasurer and brought segregation back to Omaha Public Schools comes a new lawsuit... against God. Says Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers: "People might call it frivolous but if they read it they'll see there are very serious issues I have raised." PDF of suit alleging that God "has made and continues to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons."
The Nebraska Sandhills [wiki] make up the largest vegetated sand dune in the Western Hemisphere-- almost 20,000 square miles of rolling dunes covered with prairie grass. The region is sparsely populated-- dotted with tiny towns, and contains the only man-made National Forest in the US and one of the best golf courses in the world. All told, the area's pretty damn photogenic. Just ask NASA.
"Hundreds of skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found in a volcanic ash bed buried beneath the rolling farmlands of northeastern Nebraska. Some of the best-preserved fossil rhinos, horses, camels, and birds known anywhere have been, and are being, excavated by museum crews working in the Ashfall Fossil Beds in northern Antelope County." [*]Guide from the Nebraska Game and Parks with a quick video tour [*]More information from Nebraska's NET page [*]Wikipedia Link [*] Photos from a Field Trip of Geologists
Nebraska's small towns. Some of the smaller ones actually have a lot going on. Some of the (slightly) larger ones, maybe not so much. But no matter how small they are, they do all have bars. Even the two smallest.
A federal court puts an end to Nebraska's ban on gay unions Although it doesn't mean that gay partners can start marrying each other, the court's ruling opens the doors to their appeals. Also, at the NY Times.
It took nearly four months, but to the relief of neighbors miles around, the 2,000 ton burning manure pile in Nebraska has been extinguished.
Population: 1 Plus 5,000 Books. "Rudy's Library is less than 350 square feet. The books are worn, disorganized and eclectic beyond description. It's impossible not to linger."
African-American == Black? Several high-school students at a predominantly white (well, predominantly NOT black) Nebraska high school were disciplined for a campaign to get 16-year-old student Trevor Richards awarded the school's annual "Distinguished African-American Student" award. Richards is from South Africa, now lives in America (not sure if he's a citizen, the CNN story isn't clear), but here's the catch: he's white.
"Brandon Teena lived and loved as a man. For that, she paid with her life." Exactly ten years ago today , John Lotter and Tom Nissen hunted down Teena Brandon on a quiet farm near Humboldt, Nebraska (just west of Falls City) and brutally murdered her along with two of her friends (Lisa Lambert and Phillip DeVine), leaving only an eight-month old baby at the bloody crime scene. They had raped her that Christmas and when she reported it to Richardson County Sheriff, Charles Laux (currently working at the Tecumseh prison, where Lotter is ironically housed), she was subjected to a humiliating line of questioning that the Nebraska State Supreme Court would later call "beyond all possible bounds of decency". No action was taken to apprehend the cowardly pair until it was too late. [more inside]
Is state government finally doing something right? Who knows? this seems legit enough. Apparently, if you register you can get cyber security alerts delivered to your mailbox. Can I register if I'm from say, Nebraska? Furthermore, how real is the threat to Florida's cyber infrastructure anyways?
Helder admits to mailbox bombings: "Helder admitted manufacturing eight pipe bombs in his apartment in Wisconsin," according to the affidavit. "Helder further admitted to assembling an additional 16 pipe bombs at a motel in Nebraska." I hope he gets thrown into a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.
Pipe-bomb suspect sent campus paper a suicidal manifesto The Badger Herald received a letter from pipe bomb suspect Luke John Helder postmarked Omaha, Nebraska, Friday, May 3, 2002. In the letter, signed by Helder, he said he is willing to die for his cause and threatened the lives of others. "I will die/change in the end for this, but that's ok, hahaha paradise awaits!" the letter said. "I'm dismissing a few individuals from reality, to change all of you for the better, surely you can understand my logic."
There's lots of controversy about Nebraska playing for the national championship in tonight's Rose Bowl because they didn’t win their division or conference and got crushed 63–26 by Colorado in their last game of the season. [more inside]
Clinton opts not to become the first prexy since Garfield and Harding (who? kidding) not to visit Nebraska during his term in office. Obviously, he's trying to avoid the dreaded curse: "Both Garfield and Harding died before completing their terms." Coincidence or Illuminati subterfuge?