Maria Tallchief , America's Prima Ballerinna.
6 Weeks Ago
Maria Tallchief died this week. She was 88 years old. She was one of the top ballerina's America had. Her father was a chief of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma, who lucked up when oil was found on his farm. Since Maria and her sister showed early dancing talent--the family moved to Los Angeles.
Here is a link to Open Culture with videos showing her role in 'Firebird' by Igor Stravinsky and her dancing with Rudolph Nureyev four years before she retired.
She was very fond of her father and proud of her Native American heritage so despite all pressure to Russianize her name for professional reasons, she refused.
What happens with tears in microgravity?
6 Weeks Ago
All those people living on top of each other in the ISS. What would happen if they got a chemical reagent from the experiments they are doing in their eye? Naturally the eye would tear. What happens next?
Commander Chris Hadfield (a Canadian) gives a great demo from the ISS.
Snakes are back in Ireland.
Mar 16, 2013
Holy cow! Snakes have arrived in Ireland. Idiotic yuppies during the Celtic Tiger years went and bought snakes and other reptiles such as iguanas into Ireland from Europe. Just as conversation starters and to show how cool they were. Now that these jerks have lost their fancy jobs they are abandoning them in their former fancy digs to scare the wits out of real estate people or landlords.
Worse, some of these mindless jerks are just abandoning these poor reptiles out into the countryside. Here the poor creatures wander around devouring wildlife and scaring unsuspecting inhabitants.
Since Ireland has been snake free for a long time before Patrick came there, this is really awful. Because snakes are really good predators, bird populations are really at risk. I hope that those jackeens didn't buy too many pythons. At least very few of these are venomous, but really who wants to lose wildlife at the rate that is occurring in the Everglades. Also in the South Pacific the US territory of Guam will be parachuting dead acetaminophen poisoned mice from helicopters to try to control the population of brown tree snakes which have exterminated most of the bird population of the island. Scientists figure it is too late to same the birds here but if they kill off enough of the creatures, they may prevent the snakes from cadging rides in planes and infesting other vulnerable islands in the South Pacific such as Hawaii.
Where is St Patrick or the druids when you need them?
Project 'Ring the Bell' how to end violence against women.
Mar 10, 2013
Why is a woman assaulted or beaten every nine seconds in the United States of America. This is really shocking and horrible as most Americans believe they live in a developed country.
Sir Patrick Stewart, of 'X-Men' and 'Star Trek:The Next Generation' fame suffered from growing up with a father who couldn't control his anger or fists.
The Branson charity in South Africa discovered how widespread rape was in the remote location in rural South Africa.
When rape survivor, Zerlina Maxwell went on a faux TV show and had the nerve to say that men needed to be educated not to be sexually aggressive, she received many rape threats through social media.
How are boys raised to be capable of this? Every time a boy is told don't cry, you throw like a girl, hit bullies back so they stop, or they are physically punished for their mistakes they are learning wrong --dangerous lessons.
What do you guys think can be done? Are you willing to take the pledge?
A Parody of 'Triumph of the Will' that really ticked off the Nazis.
Feb 15, 2013
Some clever Brits under the direction of Minister Charles A Ridley did a mash up of Leni Riefenstahl’s seminal propaganda film and released it to the newsreels. This ticked off Joseph Goebbels big time.
It is relatively short lasting less than 3 minutes but it shows how artistry and humour can help win a war if not depose a dictator. I wish present day theocratic govt's would be as susceptible.
Why are animals more nurturing , able to learn and change, and less species-centric than humans?
Dec 16, 2012
Several stories have come across my computer this week that led me to ask the question above. In the first instance the people at the New Zealand SPCA wanted to demonstrate the cleverness of rescue dogs by training them to drive.
Here is the background and training video.
Here are the dogs on the course, passing their test:
I was astonished at the above. As an American who is a non-driver and a , I am also a bit ashamed of myself for never learning this invaluable skill. Of course these dogs will never have to drive in traffic and contend with strange North Carolina drivers with their predilection to tailgate and speed in parking lots.
But today I found an even more astonishing story about a National Geographic photographer who was nurtured by one of the top predators of the Antarctic, a really large leopard seal. This seal felt sorry for this gormless creature, who refused to manage to capture the live penguins it presented to him. Then it decided the creature was retarded and gave him dead penguins, and failing again tried to give him pieces of penguin carcasses as though it were feeding an infant. This went on for several days much to the astonishment of the photographer.
If a predatory animal is so kind to an obviously defective fellow creature, why are we still concerned with gun control and helping our mentally troubled fellow humans? Animals are NOT deluded. They are doing just doing their thing and enjoying themselves in the process. Maybe humans could learn from them.
What is new, free and has 42 parts?
Oct 18, 2012
Well Google has the money to spend. One of its worthwhile projects is to work with other cultural intsitutions to bring together important historic exibits on the web. It currently has 42 of these AV rich exibits available at
(there are 4 pages of these in total currently).
Exibits range from photos of Asian monarchs from 1905, Early Life of Nelson Mandela, actual films of Ann Frank, other Holocaust and survival stories of Jews by their neighbours. There are also other ones associated with the Apartheid regime in South Africa, other parts of Nelson Mandala's life, and that of Steve Biko, the Coronation of Elizabeth II, D-Day accounts and Modern Italian cinema.
I hope you all enjoy these glimpses into the 20th century and that there are encouraging themes demonstrating heroes who right wrongs that were government induced. It is a tribute to all those famous and relatively unknown persons who risked their own lives to make life better for their countrymen and the following generations.
Why is violence so easy and peace so hard to acheive?
Sep 22, 2012
Are human beings so mean, violent, and red in tooth and nail as the proponents of survivalism would have you believe? History is a pretty grim and horrible record of man's inhumanity to man. Prejudice,bigotry,hatred and lack of trust are prominent in everyone's news sources. Murder,genocide,ethnic cleansing,victimization of children,human trafficing, hunger and war are all present in most countries. Is there so much of these present that we have become desensitized to it and really believe that that is what life is all about? Is this really human nature? If it is, I'd rather be an animal.
The United Nations International Day of Peace was September 21 two days after Talk Like a Pirate Day. Between then and October 2 which is the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence a website at http://www.voicesofnonviolence.org/
is showing a Documentary film called 'Little Town of Bethlehem'. It is 77 minutes long. It is meant to foster ' nonviolence, peace, humanity, equality, love, and hope.' Through creative artistic endeavours, Global Voices of Nonviolence seeks to encorage these traits.
It would be nice if h2g2 could likewise encourage international peace and harmony with creativity and good s by being patient and kind to our members and cutting each other some slack as well as just using the forums to send our friends smileys. What do you all think?
Why atheists should trust believers.
Jul 2, 2012
Why should atheists trust believers? I frankly am very tired of the badmouthing of anyone who chooses atheism and dumps, spams , and browbeats every believer they meet, in h2g2 and in RL. I am not in denial about how hypocritical or destructive believers can be. However, most religions teach that people need to be more considerate of their neighbours and not be so selfish and greedy.
Even science is coming around to the conclusion that believers could possibly be GOOD for society for whatever reason . This article from a self avowed atheist in Salon.com describes this research. I apologise for the derogatory cracks the author makes about Ireland.
To explain herself the author states, 'Well, trustworthiness is a different thing altogether from intellect, and I suppose I’m ever the social pragmatist in my dealings with other people.'
To be human people need to cut everyone else slack and avoid being self righteous. Forgiveness and mercy are underrated virtues no matter what your philosophy is. I challenge readers to think of all the situations you have ever been in that a stranger has come to your assistance. Think how different real life would be, if everyone acted like this.
Social websites can do damage.
Feb 4, 2012
I know that as a and somewhat of a techno-wienie, I hesitate to get involved with Facebook and twitter. Hech I am not really thrilled with my unsmart cell phone and admit to never texting in my life. This makes me a fossil if not a dinosaur to a lot of people --and some of my own contemporaries even. On the otherhand I rather feel like Patrick McGoohan in 'The Prisoner' :
I am NOT a number, I am a free man.
This rant is based on a sad story of a talented undergraduate freshman at Rutgers University in the state of New Jersey in the United States. Upon finding out that his college roommate taped him having relations with a male person not from the University and blabbing about it on various websites, this freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge in NYC.
The story is told in the New Yorker at great length here:
Tyler Clementi is the name of the victim and his roommate's name is Dharun Ravi.
Now Ravi is an immature git but it must be pointed out that human's ethical and complete responsibility in not fully developed until they are in their late twenties and there are always late bloomers. But he pulled this prank at a bad time and is facing a fairly draconian sentence and might even be deported as he is legally an Indian citizen.
I think it is unfair that the prosecutors were going to launch serious charges against him because the nation has just woken up to the fact that this country has a MASSIVE bullying problem and that it is endemic and comes out of everyone's nonchalance about accepting bad behaviour at every level of society and ALL age and racial groups. Ravi has always pretended to a wealth that he does not posses and has stated that he hates poor people. He was suspicious of the victim's friend and worried that he would steal computer equipment from Ravi as he was obviously lower class. None of Ravi's friends tried to stop him from continuing this behaviour. What does that say about the lot of them?
Still should Ravi be demonized when he has internalized the values of this country? The homophobia, the hatred and mistreatment of poor people are so widespread is it any wonder that an immature person would buy into this as adopting your new homeland's customs?
I feel really sorry for both families of these boys and all the people who are going to be involved in this court case. But I wish that all members of this website would be careful of what they say to people here and cut each other slack about judging actions or behaviours of others. There are people who have problems communicating here and are sensitive and have medical issues and if we aren't mindful and responsible we could hurt other's feelings all too readily. Also remember that this is NO place for privacy. Things of a delicate or sensitive nature should be emailed directly to the party involved GOSSIP not only hurts but it can be a killer.
The Problem of Mental Illness in the USA.
Dec 28, 2011
This country is a very stressful place and it does not help that health care professionals are trying to medicalize all probems that are 'sane' responses to stressful situations.
Many problems cannot be solved by just taking a pill, and if this was so effecacious (barring bad side effects, bad drug combinations, addiction potential etc.) is it on the whole desirable to 'label' a good portion of the population as suffering from mental health problems? Certainly the pharmaceutical industry would find this desirable for their bottom line and they do employ a lot of people in the manufacturing, regulation and distribution of these medications but what about the victims of this process?
Currently a new edition of the Psychiatrist's Bible - The Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Mental Disorders is being compiled. And feedback concerning the next edition (to be released in 2013) is questioning the very grounds of it being the definative truth.
This coupled with the horrible condition of health care in this county really needs to be addressed. What sensible things need to be undertaken in this country to remedy these problems?
One thing, there needs to be a morotorium on advertising drugs. There are too many silly hypochondriacs out there who want to have the disease of the month and there are enough physicians who will cave into their demands. There are no family physicians out there who will explain that eating your food more slowly and avoiding 'hot, spicy foods' is a MUCH better option than chronically taking purple pills.
Communication and listening skills and participating in artistic and cultural perfomances may contribute more to managing stress and improving people's lives than any pills could. What do you guys think?
Dec 4, 2011
Scientists have found DNA in a mammoth bone and are considering cloning it.
Of course, please keep in mind that this is the Daily Mail. I think this would be a really sad thing to do to an animal. Think of the poor confused elephant mother here. A nasty trick all around.
Nov 26, 2011
Just as A87706614 from indicated, power is always getting abused in high places. With all the 24 hour news constantly pooring out gossip as news, people will tend to be so overwhelmed that they allow all kinds of stuff to go on.
It has been 25 years since the world heard of the United States gov't negotiating for the release of the Iranian hostages and money being diverted to purchase arms to aid in the Nicaragan Contras war against the elected Sandanista government.
Big players Ronald Reagan,George H. W. Bush, suprise suprise Dick Cheney, Oliver North and Edwin Meese the Atorney General of the US.
I suppose this sort of baloney goes on all the time, but it certainly does not make democracy look that good. All this undermining of the checks and balances of the Constitution has had a demoralizing and increases the amount of cynicism in this country. And making war to give other nations to take this up is beyond despicable.
Warriors of Goja- an Indian talent act.
Nov 24, 2011
This video shows an act that appeared on an Indian talent show. These dudes make Chuck Norris look wussy. I wish I knew an Indian person who could give me a clue as to whether this is an martial art form associated with the Sihk religion or if these guys are auditioning to become Bollywood stuntmen. Or is there some sort of political message that is behind this?
Let me know what you think this is.
Foreign students say visa program abused-USA
Oct 30, 2011
This program is sponsored by the State Department to offer foreign students the opportunity to work summers in the US doing seasonal work at beach resorts, carnivals and some factories. Naturally it was undersupervised and there were instances of 'slave labour', sweat shop and other abuses in pay and housing. Also some union organizers are against these jobs going to foreigners while there are a lot of Americans who would be willing to do these jobs in the current recession.
I just wondered if anyone in the newhootwo has had an experience with this or any similar program, or whatever your thoughts were on this. I remeber as a college student looking at the European opportunities for this sort of thing. Eventually I ended up teaching English in Germany and in Greece for several years.
Was the Declaration of Independence Illegal?
Oct 23, 2011
UK Barristers and US lawyers met in Philadelphia to discuss this. Look at the BBC magazine's article:
It has a summary on the arguments of both sides, and there are over 400 comments on it.
What do you guys think? I am an American but I don't feel that is the best thing to be and with our current overseas adventures (or misadventures) being what they are I am definately not PROUD to be one.
After having had the opportunity to live in Germany and in Greece for ten years, I know that there are saner places to live and I wish that more Americans had that opportunity to do that and maybe we'd elect better candidates than we have been. (Sorry for the run-on sentence but this isn't in or I'd have a better editor to improve it).
Anyway, I'd like to see what some others think about this. But please don't hold me resposible for our gov'ts activities. I'm sure that the mother country wouldn't have us back, even if our succession was in fact illegal.
New drug trips for terminally ill cancer patients.
Sep 28, 2011
It appears that very controlled doses of hallucinogens have increased terminally ill and late stage cancer patient's quality of life immensely.
The long lasting effects of the well-being feeling engendered by these trips are astounding as well. The patients seem to have undergone a 'basic change' of mind. These trips went a long way in adjusting their thoughts about death and mitigating the fear of death. This is much better than the current form of opiates and other pain control as the longevity of the changes do not require repeated doses.
The combined experience of thousands of years of shamans and aboriginal peoples is being put to good use. Unfortunately, after Dr. Timothy Leary's less than ethical handling of hallucinogens and other abusers of drugs during the psychedelic sixties, research in this area of psychopharmacology was discouraged.
In America, at least ,death is such a taboo, and everyone seems to regard it as the enemy that this leaves advanced-stage cancer sufferers in a very bad way. Perhaps this regimen will improve the emotional and physical well-being of such patients.
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