July 24th is the date when the Mormon settlers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Commemorated as Pioneer Day, it's a day off work that is tied to a specific belief system. But non-Mormons in Utah also want to observe the holiday, and so July 24th became Pie And Beer Day. The Salt Lake Tribune article provides more background.
The Klerksdorp Spheres found near Ottosdal, South Africa, Moqui Marbles from Utah and Arizona, and the Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach on the Otago coast of New Zealand all have something in common: they aren't puzzling ancient artifacts or possibly proof of otherworldly connections, but rather concretions, naturally occurring geologic features that are created in the same fashion as pearls. Archaeology Fantasies debunks the myths of the Klerksdorp Spheres, and also details what is know of the giant stone balls of Costa Rica, which retain some mystery to their creation and purpose. [more inside]
After controversy over a bull sculpture's genitalia the owner of a Hurricane, Utah restaurant removed the offending penis from his business' sign. In an interview (skip to 19:50) he made sure it was known he wasn't bowing to pressure and removed the penis for aesthetic reasons, and that the testicles are staying.
We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can't afford a place to live. They don't have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there's only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health carebasically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.Scott Carrier reports for Mother Jones on Utah's simple, cost-effective approach to ending homelessness: "finding and building apartments where homeless people can live, permanently, with no strings attached. It's a program, or more accurately a philosophy, called Housing First." [more inside]
Instead of this, we do one of two things: We stick our heads in the sand or try to find bandages for the symptoms. This story is about how Utah has found a third way.
Based on a comparison of suicide rates at sea level and at areas above 2,000 feet, living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide. Neuroscientist Perry Renshaw believes that it's due to the impact of altitude on the brain.
"These are nude portraits in the sense that I, the photographer, am nude, while the subject is not."
Hello, [insert tv market name]!! A collection of the ‘Hello News’ package produced by Gari Communications, sold to various TV networks, nationwide (and Australia.) Hello Bonus 1: Florence Warner sings “Hello Nashville” live, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hello Bonus 2: The Osmonds record a “Hello Utah” promo.
Utah3D. Highlights include the Bonneville Salt Flats, Goblin Valley and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
On Friday, federal court judge Judge Clark Waddoups issued a ruling stating that parts of Utah’s polygamy laws, including the statute that criminalizes cohabitation, is unconstitutional. [more inside]
Historically, the state of Utah has had little relation to jazz music, giving the Utah Jazz the title (the team's only title) of the most incongruously named franchise in the world of sports. Would the Utah Hip Hop be more fitting?
A High School football coach in Roosevelt, Utah has suspended the entire football team. Roosevelt Utah, might not be a big place, but they have big ideas.
Ray tracing is a computer graphics technique that produces realistic images of a three-dimensional scene. In 1987, Paul Heckbert (then at Pixar) announced a contest to produce a ray tracer in the minimum amount of code, as he describes in "A Minimal Ray Tracer." In 2009, Andrew Kensler (then at the University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute) created a C++ version that can fit on a business card. Fabien Sanglard explicates this amazing piece of code in "Decyphering the Business Card Raytracer."
Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) has introduced a proposal to abolish compulsory education for children in his home state. [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]
After a decade or so of legal back-and-forth between Utah-based Myriad Genetics and medical researchers, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Forum, the US Supreme Court will hear a case next week which attempts to address whether genes — isolated (derivative) or original — can be patented. The stakes are high on both sides: opponents use Myriad's actions to argue that giving short-term monopoly control over humanity's genetic constituency is not in the public interest, while proponents defend the use of patents to spur private research in biotech, alternative energy and other nascent industries.
Skip Cameron, a Mormon, writes for Kotaku on the respectful treatment of Mormons and Mormonism in Fallout: New Vegas.
Here's some raw, homespun, electric guitar gospel from a 1950s Checker label release by the Reverend Utah Smith: Two Wings. [more inside]
"I Loved it...I Loved it All" An eight minute film essay that Ned Judge co-produced and directed with Edward Abbey in 1985. At the time Judge was working for a network magazine show. The executive producer took him to lunch one day. He told him that he was having trouble with his son who was 18. The son thought his dad was a corporate whore. He had told his father if he had any balls at all he’d put Edward Abbey on his show. That’s why the EP was talking to him. Would Judge see if it was possible? Judge had an acquaintance who knew Ed and he passed the request along. Ed responded that he’d give it a try. He signed the contract and wrote a script. Judge and Abbey met in Moab and went out to Arches National Park to shoot some practice sessions with a home video camera. They would review them at the motel in the evening. After a day or two, Ed was feeling pretty comfortable on camera so they scheduled the shoot. They were all happy with the way it went. But then they ran head-on into network reality. Roger Mudd, the show’s host, was extremely negative about putting an “eco-terrorist” on the show. The executive producer caved (his son was right about him apparently). So this Abbey essay was put on the shelf and never aired. Abbey died 3 years later in March 1989. [more inside]
John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
Tired of histrionic American climbing videos? Here's a rather British version for you instead. [more inside]
Beautiful motion controlled time lapse video of landscapes in Arizona and Utah by Dustin Farrell.
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Lauded as a civil disobedience symbol agitating for urgent reaction to climate change, Timothy DeChristopher was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison. [more inside]
On April 15, 2005, Centre County Pennsylvania District Attorney Ray Gricar disappeared under mysterious circumstances. A little over six years later, he was declared legally dead. In early July, 2011, a mysterious man was arrested in Provo City, Utah and refused to give his name, baffling police. One day after he was declared dead, people are asking could Utah's John Doe prisoner be Ray Gricar?
Control of Robert Smithson's earthwork masterpiece Spiral Jetty (360° panorama - QuickTime required) is now in dispute. Last week, a spokesperson for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands announced that the New York-based Dia Foundation, which was given stewardship over the work by the artist's estate, had been tardy in making its annual $250 payment on the 10 acres of land and had also failed to respond to an automatically generated notice that the 20 year lease had expired. (The Dia Foundation disagrees.) Consequently, it will now be "managed like any other sovereign land" - which may be of interest to the energy companies that have sought to explore the area. (previously)
67 years ago today, 150, 000 allied troops landed on 5 beaches on the coast of France that were defended by Rommel and about 60,000 troops of the Nazi Wermacht. Today is the D-Day landings anniversary. Lest we forget.
The Truth About Race, Religion, And The Honor Code At BYU. Deadspin has released an exposé on Brigham Young University's Honor Code, which prohibits students from having sex or drinking alcohol. The article accuses the University of selectively punishing minority (and especially African American) athletes who violate the Code. Co-authored by Darron Smith, a former BYU instructor. Responses from former BYU students at Religion Dispatches, the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald. (Previously) [more inside]
As despotic regimes fall under the weight of free communication and transparency, the state of Utah takes a step in the opposite direction. The Utah legislature seeks to restrict GRAMA (Government Records and Management Act) by prohibiting disclosure of lawmaker instant messages, cellphone texts, and video chats, while raising the fees for records requests. After being rammed through the legislature on a fast-track last week, then following a resounding public outcry, the bill has been delayed to allow for public input.
Third ranked NCAA basketball team Brigham Young University dismissed starting center Brandon Davies for violating the school's honor code by having premarital sex with his girlfriend. [more inside]
Tim DeChristopher goes on trial in a Salt Lake City District Court today [Case No. 2:09-CR-183], facing a ten year sentence and/or $750 000 fines. His crime? Intentionally making false bids on fossil fuel leases. His supporters include Dr James Hansen and Bill McKibben. (previously)
In Utah, the Deseret News -- which is owned by the Mormon Church -- has raised eyebrows with editorials supporting a more liberal embrace of illegal immigrants. [more inside]
Journey Through Canyons — a stunning HD time-lapse of the canyonlands in Arizona and Utah, featuring the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion Canyon. A thorough way to explore these magnificent geologic marvels is to follow The Hayduke Trail, one of America's Best Adventures.
"There's no set menu, you pay what you can and a national chain is even testing out the business model. Eight years ago, One World Café opened up at 41 S. 300 East with a simple goal: feed hungry people in the community with good organic food. There was no cash register, and diners paid whatever they thought was fair."
Utah Attorney General Announces Execution on Twitter. Today marked an evolution of sorts for Twitter. It’s no longer just for following your favorite celebrity rants or for informing your followers you’re having a ham sandwich or just took a shower. And self-promotion on Twitter seems so yesterday. Consider Friday’s tweets from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Around midnight, he tweeted that he’d given “the go ahead” to execute condemned inmate Ronnie Gardner.
Another oil spill took place this weekend. 21,000 gallons from a Chevron pipeline leaked into the Red Butte River, which runs through the center of Salt Lake City and feeds the ponds in its largest city park, Liberty Park. Also affected was Tracy Aviary.
It looked legit and not entirely out of the realm of possibility in today's heated political climate: an anti-gay resolution being introduced in Utah to expel homosexuals from the state. Except that it was an entire, elaborate hoax courtesy of the Yes Men.
"Using the legal standard of "reckless behavior" all a district attorney needs to show is that a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she didn't intend to lose the pregnancy. Drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage? Under the new law such actions could be cause for prosecution." A new Utah law now makes intentional behavior leading to miscarriage or "reckless" behavior leading to miscarriage a crime punishable by life in prison.
"A highly respected member of the FLDS, Joe is also the patriarch of a family of 46 children and—at last count—239 grandchildren." The Polygamists (photos)- National Geographic wanders through a section of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the mormon splinter group that proudly continues this marital tradition.
Inspired by its 10th anniversary, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah. See the Aral Sea dry up - once the fourth largest lake, down to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon, as observed from above the state of Rondônia in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
Kari Ferrell is on Salt Lake City's Most Wanted List. Apparently Ms. Ferrell has moved from Utah to New York and has been hanging out with the hipsters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Within the space of a half-hour, Ms. Ferrell was peppering him with questions about his sexual history—how many women he’d slept with and so on. “She was coming on to me, and I was super into it for the first part of it,” he said. “I realized I could have fun after work—but then I was like, ‘Let me check this girl out.’”
Yogi Bear may have been smarter than the average, but Ranger Smith had it right. Don't feed the bears. As a Montana game warden put it: human feeding "can lead to problems later and ultimately mean the animal has to be put down." A similar event had a Utah ranger upset, saying: "when you have a bear that becomes unafraid of humans, that's not a good thing."