Thursday, July 31, 2008

Seriously Out of This World!

The Boston Globe: "Views of Jupiter"

Jupiter is in the news again, this time because its "Baby Red Spot" - a storm less than a year old - appears to have been swallowed up by the massive storm known as the Great Red Spot. This is good occasion to share some of the best photographs of Jupiter and its larger system of rings and moons, as seen by various probes and telescopes over the past 30 years. (16 photos total) >>>

- Caption: The gibbous phase of Jupiter's moon Europa. The robot spacecraft Galileo captured this image mosaic during its mission orbiting Jupiter from 1995 - 2003. Evidence and images from the Galileo spacecraft, indicated that liquid oceans might exist below the icy surface. (Galileo Project, JPL, NASA; reprocessed by Ted Stryk) -

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saving r/b "Delta Queen"

EURSOC: "Mark Twain Would be Sad"

The last queen of the Mississippi is going to her grave in November. Her name is the ‘Delta Queen’, the only active 19-th-century-style real paddle-wheel steamboat travelling up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the United States. Her mighty steam organ blasts merrily along the way. To the joy of sightseers and passengers.

Although the Delta Queen certainly looks the part, she was built in 1926. Britain played a role: her huge steel hull was constructed in Scotland. But, in keeping with tradition, she was fitted with a wooden superstructure resembling a white wedding-cake on the decks above the boat’s sizeable tonnage.

- Caption: "Delta Queen" on the Upper Mississippi River - slide show on picture gallery -

In the good (or bad) old days, riverboats such as the Delta Queen were very popular. In their heyday they were associated with gambling, naughty pleasure and fine views of wild and wildlife scenes.

Quite a few crawfish were served onboard and there was plenty of Bourbon.

The paddle-wheeled steamboat is a part of American folklore, not far away from cowboys and the Alamo. The US federal Coast Guard - bless their hearts - has decreed that the vessel must retire. The only reason given is that she is “dangerous”.

This correspondent has visited two paddle steamers on the water front of New Orleans as late as the end of the 1980s. They are now gone.

Mark Twain wrote at least one of his books on a Mississippi boat. Farewell Delta Queen, and goodbye to a big part of American popular culture.

Fortunately it's not over yet! What the Delta Queen needs is an exemption from the US Congress which she received several time over the last 40+ years without any problems. There is still hope and a strong groups of supporters and politicians are fighting for the Delta Queen to keep her running as an overnight passenger vessel. >>>

Visit "Save the Delta Queen" campaign site.

Video and other press material is available on News Coverage.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Of Eco Melodrama, Sentiment and Agit Prop: a Review

Pajamas: "The BBC Presents: Sex and Global Warming Propaganda," by Mike McNally

Not so long ago you couldn’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV news without seeing pictures of ‘stranded’ polar bears (who weren’t stranded), ‘collapsing’ ice sheets (ice sheets have collapsed for as long as there have been ice sheets), or Manhattan under water to illustrate some new claim about how runaway global warming was going to lead to imminent catastrophe.

Alongside the propaganda masquerading as news, Hollywood and TV companies have been churning out fictional disinformation in the shape of films such as The Day After Tomorrow and Happy Feet (any self-respecting propaganda machine knows the importance of catching ‘em young), and various small-screen dramas and ‘drama-documentaries’.

- Caption: The People's Cube: "Al Gore's Carbon Footprint Discovered" -

But with no significant increase in global temperatures for the past ten years or so, and atmospheric monitoring failing to find any evidence of the much-vaunted ‘greenhouse signature,’ what used to be a steady stream of apocalyptic stories emanating from the newsrooms has all but dried up, and the job of trying to persuade us that the threat from global warming is real is increasingly being left to the entertainment divisions of the mass media.

The BBC has long been one of the worst offenders in terms of biased reporting on the issue, and now the Beeb has stepped up to the plate to address the propaganda deficit with its two-part drama Burn Up. [Note: Burn Up is a joint BBC-Canadian production, which just aired in Great Britain. It will also air in Canada, and it’ll likely find its way on to US television at some point. There are no outright spoilers in what follows, but a couple of minor ones.]

The plot of Burn Up revolves around the newly appointed boss of Arrow Oil, Tom McConnell, who’s drawn into all manner of intrigue surrounding attempts to get the United States to sign a ‘Kyoto 2′ treaty at a climate change summit in Canada. Tom begins to question his company’s commitment to fossil fuels when he falls under the spell of Holly (Neve Campbell), Arrow’s hot new appointee to the supposedly token position of head of renewables.

Battling Holly for Tom’s soul is oil lobbyist Mack, played by The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford. Mack is essentially JR Ewing without the good points, and in case the viewer should be in any doubt as to the extent of his moral bankruptcy, in one of Burn Up’s many gratuitously America-bashing scenes Mack is shown watching a faith healer at work on cable TV, and exclaiming, with tears in his eyes, “Praise the Lord!” It’s not bad enough that he’s a shill for the oil industry - he’s a Bible-bashing shill for the oil industry.

Tom’s conversion from oilman to eco-warrior is helped along by an encounter with another pretty woman, an Inuit scientist and environmental campaigner called Mika. Mika serves Tom with a writ (...) >>>

- Filed on Articles in "The Science of Global Warming" -

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Artists for Liberty and Modern Values

Atlas Shrugs: "Weapon of Musical Defense"

Last night I made good on my promise on my new radio show Voices of Freedom on KFNX to play new and original music with a message, a counter jihad message. Great rockin' tunes. Several concerned and talent rock stars got together and put to music everything they had learned about Islam after 9/11. What took years to learn has been put to fabulous music.

They are currently producing a CD of roughly 22 songs which will be available on itunes.
Last night I played the world premiere of Appeasement (minute 5 on the show Download 2nd_Show_July_24.mp3 ) and promised Atlas listeners the opportunity to download two songs for free. GO HERE FOR THE FREE DOWNLOADS.

What happens when a desire for peace at at any price meets an insatiable desire for world conquest?

is about the tacit acceptance of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam by the UN. We think it's a pretty shocking document and more people would be shocked by it, if only they knew about it

From the new website:

We're getting ready for a forthcoming web launch. We know it's a mysterious name but you'll just have to wait. We’re not quite ready for our full launch yet when we will be making an album of songs available. These will be ground breaking songs that explain concepts that most journalists, politicians and even controversy seeking artists have shied away from.

WMD is a group of concerned rockers and rock stars. We’ve studied and read since 9-11 and found out some facts that are pretty hard to find out. We want to share these with a wider audience. We know many people are reading blogs and web sites about these topics but we want to reach out to those who don’t or won’t read the books and blogs on Jihad and Islam. (...) >>>

Condell also weighs in:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The History of Rome II

Art Daily: "Royal Academy of Arts Announces Ground-Breaking Exhibition Devoted to Byzantium"

From October 2008, the Royal Academy of Arts will host a ground-breaking exhibition devoted to Byzantium. Highlighting the splendours of the Byzantine Empire, the exhibition will comprise around 300 objects including icons, detached wall paintings, micro-mosaics, ivories, enamels plus gold and silver metalwork. Some of the works have never been displayed in public before.

Byzantium 330–1453 will include great works from the San Marco Treasury in Venice and rare items from collections across Europe, the USA, Russia, Ukraine and Egypt. The exhibition begins with the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and concludes with the capture of the city by the Ottoman forces of Mehmed II in 1453. This will be the first major exhibition on Byzantine Art in the United Kingdom for 50 years.

- Caption: Byzantine Empire in 1265 (more maps on Historical Maps Viewing Space Over Time) -

Byzantium 330–1453 will follow a chronological progression covering the range, power and longevity of the artistic production of the Byzantine Empire through a number of themed sections. In this way the exhibition will explore the origins of Byzantium; the rise of Constantinople; the threat of iconoclasm when emperors banned Christian figurative art; the post-iconoclast revival; the remarkable crescendo in the Middle Ages and the close connections between Byzantine and early Renaissance art in Italy in the 13th and early 14th centuries. (...)

- Caption: The Ships of Lesvos - The Byzantine empire used both sails and rowers. Circa 1100 AD -

Up to the end of the Byzantine Empire, with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, manuscripts, micromosaics and metalwork demonstrates the virtuosity of its artists. (...) >>>- Caption: Eyecon Art - The Empress Theodora, 547 AD - mosaic in San Vitale, Ravenna

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cracking the Vatican Code

Chiesa: "The Library of the Popes Is Closed. But on the Web, It's More Open Than Ever," by Sandro Magister

For three years, major restoration work is blocking access to the most valuable library in the world. In compensation, it has opened a new internet site. With the images of many of its famous manuscripts.

For more than a year, the Apostolic Vatican Library has been closed for maintenance. And it will remained closed for another two years, until 2010. This is no small matter for a library that is unique in the world for the number and quality of the works it contains: more than 150,000 manuscript volumes, more than one million printed books, including 8,300 incunabula, more than 300,000 coins and medals, and more than 70,000 prints and engravings.

The shutdown is not complete. All of the manuscripts, for example, had to be moved from their shelves, but a laboratory for restoring them continues to function. And the laboratory for the photographic reproduction of the texts also continues to function, to meet the many requests that continue to arrive from all over the world.

In any case, the reading rooms, normally visited by an average of 150 scholars per day, will remain closed. In compensation, a new internet site for the library has been available for one month, in Italian and English: The Vatican Library

The new website provides news on the status of the restoration work. But above all, it gives access to the catalogs of the works kept in the library. The main new development is that in addition to the catalog for printed works, there is now also a catalog for manuscripts. For now, it contains a limited amount of information. But it has already been supplemented – for the manuscripts accompanied by complete descriptions – with a selection of images freely available for view.

With respect to the library, the Vatican Secret Archive is another matter. It contains the documents concerning the central government of the Catholic Church. It is called "secret" because it is the private archive of the pontiff. He is its sole owner, establishing its norms and deciding whether to open it for consultation.

- Caption: Pope Nicholas V and the Origins of the Vatican Library- Giovanni Michele Nagonio, Prognostichon Hierosolymitanum, Parchment, 1507 -

Today, it can be consulted through the entire pontificate of Pius XI, meaning up until 1939. The next section to be opened, the one dealing with the pontificate of Pius XII, will give free access up until 1958, but a wide selection of documents from the years of the second world war has already been public for some time. Every day, from 50-80 scholars from all over the world visit the secret archive. Its more than two million documents occupy 80 linear kilometers of shelving. (...) >>>

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fellini's Early Escapism

ANSA: "Fellini sketches fantasy galore"

A valuable and little-known collection of sketches by legendary Italian film director Federico Fellini is now on show in the northern town of Adro.

The pictures are on loan from a collection that once belonged to one of Fellini's closest aides and collaborators, Liliana Betti. Betti, who was born in Adro, worked with the director for over two decades.

Unlike drawings produced by other filmmakers, who used sketching as a way to clarify their ideas about the set and the development of the film, Fellini turned to art for escapism and fantasy.

He started drawing as a boy in Rimini, producing caricatures of Hollywood stars in exchange for free entry into his local cinema.

As a young man, he turned this knack to comic drawings and cartoons, which he sold to different newspapers. This eventually led to him working as a journalist, scriptwriter and film director.

But his love of drawing and caricature lingered in a life-long passion for cartoons and doodling.While other exhibitions have explored this side of Fellini's talent, the pieces on display in Adro are from a rarely shown private collection. (...) article and images >>>

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hadrian's Fateful Consolidation

Art Daily: "The British Museum Presents Hadrian: Empire and Conflict Exhibition in London"

The British Museum presents Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, on view through October 26, 2008. The Roman Emperor Hadrian (117 to 138AD) is best known for his passion for Greek culture, interest in architecture, his love for Antinous, and of course the eponymous wall he built between England and Scotland, then Caledonia. (...)

- Caption: Bronze head of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117–138) AD found in the River Thames at London Bridge in 1834. The head comes from a statue, one-and-a-quarter life-size, that may have been erected in a public space in London in AD 122 to commemorate Hadrian's visit to Britain. -

Incorporating recent scholarship and the latest spectacular archaeological discoveries, the exhibition will feature over 180 objects from 28 lenders from Italy to Georgia, from Israel to Newcastle. Loans of dramatic sculpture, exquisite bronzes and architectural fragments will be brought together and displayed for the first time in the UK, alongside famous objects from the Museum’s own collection such as the iconic bronze head of Hadrian and the Vindolanda tablets. (...)

By the time of Hadrian’s accession, the Roman Empire covered much of Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. (...) His first act on coming to power was to withdraw the Roman forces from Mesopotamia, present- day Iraq. Another example of this consolidation was the wall he had built in the north of England to mark the furthest reach of his empire. Hadrian was remarkable in that he travelled extensively across his empire, meeting more of his people than any other emperor before him. Hadrian was a man of great contradiction in both his personality and reign (...) >>>

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Belgium: Ground Zero of Transnational Politics

In honour of the ongoing political and constitutional crisis at the neighbours herewith a very early vid noir of the unique artist Jacques Brel, who died much too young and whose biography truly fits that illusive multicultural epithet, Belgian.

Just as there are no Macedonian or European people, the Belgians are the doubtful owners of a non-existent pseudo ethnic label. The tribal Belgae have just as much relation to the present Flemish and Walloons as the ancient tribe of the Teutons have with modern Germany. Here's the historical Wiki of the region through the ages and here's the Wiki for the intricacies of modern Belgium.

The BBC earlier this week made short shrift of the long, complicated story of postmodern Belgian politics. The Brussels Journal has details and suspects the imploded Government was just an EU ploy to get the infamous Lisbon Treaty signed. Now that the document has been ratified, the cabinet served its purpose and has become redundant. We may never know if this conspiracy theory holds a kernel of truth.

However, this might be a good time to acknowledge that the Kingdom of the Belgians is a historical mistake. Belgium, the seat of NATO and the European Union stands model for the EU and is just as synthetic an entity: no nation, but a multicultural state. The sole concept binding them was the originally German royal house of Saxe Coburg, but even they are seen by the Flemish as a bulwark of Francophone dominance.

Going from crisis to crisis is symptomatic of the postmodern propping up of multinational non-nations at the expense of the no longer politically correct sovereign nation-state: multicultural kitch and faux imperial goulash is all the rage.

No democratic nation-state has waged war over the last half a century, but the forces of postmodernism have long made up their mind: nation equals nationalism, equals a machine of war. Belgium may with right be seen as a major battle ground of the postmodern onslaught of transnational progressivism on the old Westphalian guard.

When Flanders was an agricultural backwater Wallonia was an industrial revolution power house. It has run to seed by its inability to adjust to the times, as well as the corruption of its monolithically Socialist politicians. Today the economical shoe is on the other foot: while Wallonia continues to import foreign labour on Socialist principles, poorly educated and under-adjusted Muslims make a bee-line for the ranks of the unemployed, for which Flanders foots the bill. But the squabbles over power and which language group is financially propping up who, are ultimately of secondary importance.

The Brussels Journal ventures another interesting observation: "Belgium can continue to flourish without a national government for the simple reason that the cabinet doesn’t have to decide much anyway. Most authority has devolved to the regions […] The central government is left to deal with foreign policy, defense and finance policy – all issues that are increasingly taken care of at the EU level."

This accurately describes the transnationalist plan of operation: the national apparatus of state is very gradually stripped of authority and powers, to the point of becoming an empty shell. Once redundant, the 'regions' take over while foreign affairs, defence, and monetary policy is taken care of on the supranational level: curtains for the offensive nation state, hello to the nascent transnational entity consisting of multicultural regions.

The hypothesis is taking shape, that this project was started decades ago on a micro level, when villages, municipalities and town councils were stripped of their historical identity and began a process of re-structuring into administrative clusters under fantasy names that had no root in local history.

An example would be three villages - Oakborough, Bridgewick and Weathertown, administered by the new council of Goodchange (motto: "Change for Progress"). It is preferably well infiltrated by transies, professional key posts being manned by fifth columnists trained by the Common Purpose school of progressive thought. IngSoc exists ...

We'd like to hear your story, if such processes have taken place in your area. Belgium needs careful watching, it being the model for the transnational future.

Back to Brel, Sotheby's just announced an auction of a collection of memorabilia, manuscripts, records, and photos to be held at the Paris office on October 1st. We'll keep you posted.

Till then, enjoy an early performance by a very young Jacques Brel.

Wishing the neighbours all the strength and wisdom they need.


- "For Flanders"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Early Politically Correct Furniture: constructivism

Art Daily: "UEA Collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art Exhibit at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts "

Constructed, the most extensive exhibition of the UEA Collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Architecture and Design, opened at the Sainsbury Centre. The collection, which was founded in 1968, features sculpture, painting, graphics and design, together with architectural models, stage sets and furniture. Works by David Bomberg, Marcel Breuer, Charles Eames, Le Corbusier and François Morellet will be amongst those on display.

- Caption: Rietveld chair -

The UEA collection began in response to the modernity of the University of East Anglia’s architecture. In 1968, UEA was one of England’s ‘New Universities’ with a bold concrete campus designed by architect Denys Lasdun to reflect the ambitious inter-disciplinary approach of the young institution. (...)

The earliest group of works in the exhibition date from between circa 1910 and 1930 and reflect the origins of a modern ‘movement’. Early exponents included artists and architects associated with the De Stijl Group such as Gerrit Rietveld and those associated with the Bauhaus in Germany such as Wassily Kandinsky.

Works in the 1910 - 1930 section of the show include a Le Corbusier chair and architectural model, a painting by Sonia Delaunay, the Pravda Tower model by the Vesnin brothers, Rietveld chairs, a charcoal drawing by David Bomberg and 2D works by Wassily Kandinsky and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy.

Artists began making work now described as ‘constructivist’ in the second decade of the twentieth century. The First World War and the creation of a new social order through the Revolution in Russia were instrumental in causing many artists to rethink how art and design shapes the way people live.

A visual language of order and clarity drew some inspiration from other abstract movements but more importantly, embraced the possibilities presented by rapid technological development and engaged with other disciplines such as mathematics, science and architecture. (...) >>>

Described here are the attempts by the Leftist movement to deconstruct Western civilization. Across the board they have been extremely successful. Hardly anything has retained its original meaning: the most favored rhetorical trick is the 'Orwellian' practice of changing definitions: 'true freedom through the state' and other such oxymorons.

This is related to the subjectivist, Kantian notion that thought creates reality: "art and design shapes the way people live." This is not just wishful thinking, it also objectively a mistake; but it does corrupt reality to a shocking extent.

The 'modern' movement is another misnomer suffering from a corrupted definition. In fact, the movement set in motion by subjectivism was anti-modern. Modernism itself stands for the values of the Enlightenment, which the anti-modernists sought to counter: reason, individual liberty, limited government and free trade. Today, we know them as Postmodernists. We often think of them as monolithically Leftist, but they have a closeted Rightist branche as well ...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ode to the Collective: Totalitarian Temples

Art Daily: "Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed at Chicago Architecture Foundation"

‘Startling,’ and ‘idiosyncratic’ describe the architecture in the newest exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) 224 S. Michigan Avenue. Free and open daily through October 3, Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed consists of 48 photographs of Modernist buildings that were designed and built behind the iron curtain during the 1970s and 1980s.

A map of the building locations is also included in the exhibition. French photographer Frederic Chaubin documented the structures during a five-year period. The exhibition was originally produced by the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. (...) >>>

CCCP: During the course of his travels in the former Soviet Union, French photographer Frederic Chaubin documented an extensive collection of startling architectural artifacts built during the last two decades of the Cold War. The exhibition is a compendium of film stills, drawings, magazine articles, and historical timelines that maps out the complex genealogy of this overlooked but compelling chapter in the history of 20th century design. (...) >>>

Friday, July 04, 2008

Metropolis: the Pre-Dystopia of the Weimar Republic

Art Daily: "Lost Footage of "Metropolis" Film By Fritz Lang Is Found in Buenos Aires, Argentina"

The Pablo Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina has found in its archives a copy of the movie “Metropolis” directed in 1927 by Fritz Lang, with lost footage. The silent film was one of the most expensive ones (around $200 million dollars) and was cut heavily to make it more accessible. It was initially thought as a movie that would last two and a half hours. The footage that was found will add around 25 minutes to the film, but there will still be around five minutes missing. (...)

Metropolis is a science fiction film created by the Austrian-German director Fritz Lang. It was produced in Germany in the Babelsberg Studios and released in 1927. The screenplay was written in 1924 by Lang and his then wife, Thea von Harbou, and novelized by von Harbou in 1926.

It is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and examines a common science fiction theme of the day: the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The film is set in the year 2026, in the extraordinary Gothic skyscrapers of a corporate city-state, the Metropolis of the title.

Society has been divided into two rigid groups: one of planners or thinkers, who live high above the earth in luxury, and another of workers who live underground toiling to sustain the lives of the privileged. The city is run by Johann 'Joh' Fredersen (Alfred Abel). >>>

IMDb has extensive documentation: slideshow, and 61 images.

The German interbellum, also known as the Weimar Republic, was initially dominated by Leftist revolutionary activities inspired by Russian Bolshevism. The terrified pragmatist 'third way' Governments of the time - which were characterized by ineffective compromizing and amoral pragmatism - thought they could cancel out Spartacist Leftist collectivist brutality by unleashing on it Rightist collectivist brutality, the Freicorps - remnants of the former Imperial paramilitaries.

A posting dated 8th February pictures the surrealism of the German Revolution that was the basis of German society at the time the film was produced, the chaos and decadence that shot the Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party to power just six years later.

The theme of the film is typical of the Marxist dialectic: the paranoid bipolar division of humanity in oppressors and oppressed, in this case the proletariat against a caste of city planners.

Objectivist author Leonard Peikoff in "The Ominous Parallels" has made a dramatic effort to collate the current cultural and political constellation with that of the Weimar Republic. He maps the underlying philosophical currents, which indeed partly overlap:

the peculiar paradox of relativist pragmatism with absolute dogmatism, and mystical subjectivism coupled with sexual permissiveness, all blanket-covered by the deeply ingrained sense of ethics in which individual sacrifice to the collective is the highest standard of human achievement. Pending ominous developments related to anti-human animal rights and its consequences for values, the parallel stops short at this moment in time.