|What do air crews call a life vest?|
IN MEMORIAM MAX MATHEWS
Last April, Max Mathews, the first person to get a computer to play music, died at the age of 84. As I write now, I am listening to music from KUSC Los Angeles online, with a good amplifier and speakers connected to my computer, enjoying Baroque music and taking it for granted. He and I overlapped at Bell Labs in the 1960's but I never met him. We should all be grateful for his contribution to our lives. I append an obituary and recommend picking up on the audio links.
While on the topic of music, which Pollyanna loves, let us share a news item about an extreme reaction to a performance and a few blog posts from the Opinionator on how Daniel Felsenfeld and Michael Gordon became composers. We also had a visit by Bob Dylan
|Bob Dylan in 2009 Photo by: MR Photo / Corbis Online|
JAMES THURBER REMEMBERED: 1894-1961
|Fifty Years since his Death|
We were told in The New Yorker last week about an event in New York City in memory of James Thurber. Let me quote Frank Mankoff-
"Last Sunday at the 92nd Street Y, I was delighted to be part of an event entitled “Keith Olbermann and Friends: On James Thurber”—and pleasantly surprised to learn that Olbermann was my friend, even though we had never met before. The evening featured readings from “Fables for Our Time” by Olbermann and by Thurber’s daughter, Rosemary, who talked about growing up in a “Thurberized” household. Calvin Trillin talked about the Midwestern sensibilities that influenced Thurber’s humor and his own. The comedian Scott Blakeman was the moderator. And I gave a little presentation claiming that, important as Thurber was to humor writing, he was even more influential in shaping the modern New Yorker cartoon."
I have been an avid admirer of James Thurber (the link is for those challenged by youth or sanity) ever since I can remember, which, alas, is a very long time. If he had only written The Secret Life of Walter Mitty it would have been enough for us. Indeed he took New Yorker cartoons from this:
to this truly great one:
The Peaceful Mongoose in which he takes a shot at the warlike atmosphere of the Cold War and the McCarthy days. It is quite apt for Israel today.
|…who didn’t want to fight cobras or anything else” and was rumored to be “not only pro-cobra and anti-mongoose but intellectually curious and against the ideals and traditions of mongoosism.|
I would like to share a reading of a Thurber short story as done by Keith Olbermann on his TV show:
Our Sunday evenings are devoted to introducing Hillel,
|aka the coffee table monster|
Pollyanna, as usual, would like to share some science tidbits with you. The first one, with which we start lest we forget, deals with a potential treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease by means of as common a substance as cinnamon! We are proud that this was done at our beloved Tel Aviv University. Do not forget to take your cinnamon every day.
The question of the ORIGIN OF LIFE has long been a subject of interest to scientists. At one university in Israel (guess which one) this research had to be disguised under an innocuous sounding name lest the power of the Inquisition be unleashed upon the lab. It is generally agreed that DNA could not have been the starter in the absence of proteins and vice versa (chicken and egg issue), but now it appears that its poor relation RNA played a crucial role in starting self-replication. It also seems that the starter "soup" may not have been in the warm seas but in ice and slush.which could mean that life might start in hostile extraterrestrial environments.
We also would like to share some news items from Earth and Environmental Science with you.
Pollyanna loses her cool and her glad attitude when WOMEN'S RIGHTS are violated. A Toronto police officer suggested that women would be safer if they did not "dress like sluts" which generated a huge reaction and outcry, and justly so. Now the "Slutwalk" movement has reached India where abuse of women is a national sport. Let's hear it for the brave women of New Delhi who are standing up for their rights. She also has some strong feelings about women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Maureen Dowd lets fly a barrage at Hilary Clinton for her pussyfooting on the subject. Driving is a crime?!!! Apparently the price at the gas pump can douse a lot of the flame of human rights.
Keith Olbermann is back on the air on Al Gore's new network after parting company with MSNBC. I would like to introduce you to his first show. Pollyanna is pleased that it had such a successful debut and crushed Fox in the ratings.
Pollyanna is very glad that Louisiana did not pass a law that would have let Creationism into the classroom. Hurray! Teaching science is hard enough without religious and political interference. In New Hampshire it appears that there will be a struggle next year to keep religious dogma out of the schools. She is also delighted at the release from prison of Ai Wei Wei and the 20 year ban on mining in the Grand Canyon.
Since we have bugged you quite a bit today, we will tell you about a book about what bugs you. We certainly hope that you still read books. Much noise is being made about the demise of the printed book and if indeed it is lost to us, we will have lost the process of linear acquisition of information. It is a problem worthy of your consideration.
This has become very long so we shall send you off smiling with Gene Weingarten and his search for the elusive googlenope.