Wednesday, August 31, 2005
For Sale: Cozy London home, tall, narrow and dark paint. Model of efficiency; everything is within arm's reach. Five levels, three bedrooms, and a bathroom on its own floor. Price:$933,868. A London home that measures just over 5 feet at its skinniest and 9 feet, 11 inches at its widest is on the market. The converted hat shop in the Shepherd's Bush neighborhood is spread over 5 levels and is utterly amazing and almost certainly unique. Its bathroom features a medium-sized tub that takes up the entire length of the room. (The house above, sandwiched in between the normal-sized buildings, is similar to the London house. It is located in Amsterdam.)
Fifteen years ago the Griffeys---20-year old Ken Jr. and his dad, Ken Sr., age 40---made maior league history on August 31, 1990, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 5-2 victory over Kansas City. The Griffeys were the first father and son to play together in the big leagues. (Ken Griffey Jr. is on the left with Ken Sr. on the right).
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
In England, a secondary school is about to allow pupils to swear at teachers--as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be "spoken" to at the end of the lesson. This astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behavior of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and public officials. Parents were advised of the plan, which comes into effect when the new term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Parents called the plan "wholly irresponsible and ludicrous."
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The Bay Area will be getting a spectacular new bridge. The new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is a project that has been delayed by concerns about design and cost overruns. Recently Californias's governor and lawmakers reached a deal that ended a six-month standoff over the project, which had risen to more than $6 billion. Under the deal, the state will provide more money, and tolls on state-owned bridges in the Bay Area will increase by $1 in 2007.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Saturn's rings have an atmosphere distinct from the planet's, the European Space Agency said Wednesday, citing data from NASA's Cassini craft. The atmosphere around the rings appears to be composed mainly of molecular oxygen, in which two atoms of the element are bonded together. Energy from the sun forces water molecules to break from the rings, which are composed of water, ice and dust, and these are then broken up, fueling the rings' atmosphere.
From Earth, the Milky Way is a band of stars that lights up the night sky. From outside the galaxy, looking in, astronomers say, it's an entirely different picture. The astronomers say a bar of stars cuts through the center of the galaxy that includes the sun and Earth.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Rare sightings of blue whales--believed to be the largest animals ever to have lived on Earth--have been made this week off Long Beach, California. The whales feed on krill--small shrimp-like crustaceans that are their main food. Adult blue whales average between 80 and 100 feet in length and weigh between 150,000 and 300,000 pounds. To feed, they lunge at dense concentrations of krill, taking in as much as 15,000 gallons of food and water in a single mouthful. They need about 1.5 million calories a day to satisfy their energy requirements. To maintain their weight, they consume about 40 million krill--almost 4 tons of the tiny crustaceans--every day. Despite their size, blue whales can swim up to 30 mph.
AND TODAY: More than 1,000 visitors came to see human corpses encased in silicone at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida. The exhibit has 20 cadavers and 260 body parts on display. Most of the male and female corpses are presented in athletic poses. Nearly all the bodies and body parts are stripped of flesh so that internal organs, tissue, muscles, veins and bones are exposed. (The picture above shows students witnessing a demonstration with 3 cadavers and a skeleton; circa: 1910).
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Fred and Ginger and their marvelous "special effects" . . . and appearing this month in high quality DVD . . . the most exciting news in American art right now: a series of black and white movies that are over 60 years old, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films of the 1930s. The Fred-and-Ginger escapist masterpieces reach from "Flying Down to Rio" (1933) to "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" (1939)---all black and white, and all brilliant. Astaire may be the greatest of all American dancers; Astaire and Rogers are certainly the greatest dance team. Astaire was a peerlessly great dancer in part because he was a great musician: His piano solos in "Roberta" and "Follow the Fleet" are highlights of the series. The Astaire-Rogers films of the '30s also include (hypnotically catchy ) songs by Vincent Youmans and the Cole Porter mega-hit "Night and Day." Irving Berlin wrote three of these scores, Jerome Kern two, George Gershwin one. How to explain all this talent in one short series of films? Easy. It was a miracle. Ginger Rogers once said, "I did everything Fred did, but backward and in heels." However, her technique is nowhere near Astaire's. When the going gets tough, she steps aside and lets him do his stuff. Yet none of Astaire's other dancing partners holds a candle to Ginger. Her seductive, wise-cracking cool and lyrically elegant way of moving make up for her technical limitations. She might be the most underrated actress in American film. The Fred-and-Ginger dances are controlled thermonuclear explosions of romantic passion. The censors would have banned them if they'd been sharp enough to see what was happening. (THE ABOVE IS MADE UP OF EXCERPTS FROM AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DAVID GELERNTER)
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Boy!! that was quite a swim!! Satellite tracking has shown a polar bear swimming at least 46 miles in just one day, the first conclusive proof that the bears can cover such distances in the water. The collared bear entered the water from the east side of the Norwegian Arctic island of Spitsbergen early July 20, swam northeast and reemerged on Edgeoya island July 21, the Norwegian Polar Institute reported Friday. Dubbed "Skadi" after a Norse goddess of snow, she probably swam more like 62 miles, as she almost certainly did not swim in a precise line. UPDATE/RELATED STORY: Three Polish researchers stranded on a remote Arctic island were rescued by helicopter with polar bears about 20 yards from reaching them. This hairsbreadth escape took place on August 17, in Norway's archipelago, about 600 miles from the North Pole. The researchers were cold and wet, had no equipment or weapons and were surrounded by hungry polar bears. The three men from the Polish research ship Horyzont had set out in a small inflatable boat to pick up equipment on one of the islands. The boat capsized and they lost all their equipment and weapons. They swam and clambered over chunks of floating ice to get to the island of Edgeoya. They stayed there at the edge of a tiny bay between two glaciers, for 15 hours before the helicopter arrived. They managed to start a fire, to keep warm and keep the polar bears away, using the spark plugs from their capsized craft's outboard motor to get the fire going. The island has some dried grass and scrubby plants. At least three polar bears looking for a meal were within about 20 yards of the men when the helicopter picked them up.
One in 25 fathers could unknowingly be raising another man's child, British scientists said Thursday. Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University examined the findings of numerous studies on cases of what they call paternal discrepancy. In the current issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers calculated that about 4% of men worldwide are not biological fathers of a child they believe is theirs.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Ben Kuroki, 88, faced prejudice repeatedly in the U. S. Army as a Japanese American who was born on a Nebraska potato farm. Japanese Americans were not popular during World War II: some were confined to camps even though they might have lived their whole life in this country. Serving as an Army Air Force tail gunner, Kuroki flew 58 combat missions over Europe and North Africa. On Friday, at a ceremony in Nebraska. Kuroki"s World War II buddies plan to present him with a Distinguished Service Medal, one of the nation's highest military honors.
Disturbed by a blaring car alarm in the neighborhood, a man decided to do something about it. Shortly after the incessant screeching began about 10 p.m. outside his apartment, the man identified the source of the noise as a white Toyota Camry and shot it at least three times with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol. However, the victim is expected to recover.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman head this year's class of 12 inductees to the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, which opened last fall at Jazz at Lincoln Center's new home in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Last year's inaugural group of 14 inductees included Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Some people like to read in the bathroom. "The Bathroom Companion" comes clean with plenty of information about "the most-used room in the house." James Buckley Jr. offers nuggets of trivia from history, science and pop culture. Readers learn that Benjamin Franklin introduced the bathtub into America and that most toilets flush in E flat. You can also find the five types of bath towels, types of bathroom tiles, what toothpaste contains and why along with the top brands. There's also a list of the famous people who died in the bathroom. Tips are provided on cleaning the bathroom, remodeling the bathroom, and getting a better shave. And lastly, you can learn how to say, "Where's the bathroom?" in Creole, Hawaiian, Swahili, Zulu and several other languages.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Well, actually there were five of them. In 1936 Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame. With 222 votes, Ty Cobb was tops. Ruth and Wagner were next with 215 votes out of a possible 226. (Above: Ty Cobb is on the left and Babe Ruth is on the right)
Monday, August 01, 2005
Walter Winchell called her "the incomparable Hildegarde," and Liberace said "Hildegarde was perhaps the most famous supper-club entertainer who ever lived." Hildegarde, who was credited with starting the single-name vogue among entertainers, has died. She was 99. Her career spanned almost seven decades. During the peak of her popularity in the 1930's and 40's she was booked in cabarets and supper clubs at least 45 weeks a year, earning as much as $17,500 a week in 1946. Bobby Short once said, "Hers was the slickest nightclub act of all time."