Cluster Map

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pollyanna and Titan are returning in force


and Pollyanna

like to think of themselves as retirees who are relaxing after years of hard labor and ranting. They have, in their joint persona of T_P decided that it is not fair to their countless fans and readers to deprive them of the wisdom they can dispense. Yes, Virginia, we have a sense of the absurd. We also think that age is not a big deal; Pollyanna at over 100 and Titan at 4.5
billion hold out hope for all of us to say nothing of Biblical figures. 

They will try to alleviate the effects of climate change through which we are all laboring. If you can find a denier, try to keep him/her away from air conditioning--they are not worthy of it.

T_P have noted that things have not become better since they retired from active ranting. They have decided, therefore, that they will come back to a schedule, with Pollyanna at midmonth and Titan at the end of the month. Their recent move with their amanuenses YandA 

to a place full of retired people has renewed their energy and desire to bug people. As usual, Titan will rant mightily while Pollyanna will try to be glad, but will allow herself rants about women and girls or blatant human rights violations while mostly trying to be glad and positive. As usual, Murphy will provide companionship, humor and legal advice.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Titan and Pollyanna hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.


This Philippine national who was a domestic worker in Indonesia is under a death sentence. Veloso was arrested in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2010 while carrying a suitcase containing 2.2kg of heroin. Her supporters say poverty made her susceptible to people traffickers, who promised her a job as a maid in Malaysia but instead made her an unwitting drug mule. It is believed in general that she was duped into carrying the drugs. Her execution was stopped in April 2015 with a temporary reprieve hours before she was due to be killed.
Mary Jane Veloso was sentenced to death in Indonesia for drugs trafficking. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Her reprieve came after Maria Kristina Sergio, a woman accused of recruiting Veloso, handed herself in to police in Manila. The former Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, made an appeal to Jokowi on the basis that Veloso would be needed as a witness in the case against Sergio.

Pollyanna agrees that drug lords should face prison terms, but is certainly against capital punishment and killing unwitting dupes who are victims of the drug empires.


Erik Satie 1866-1925 

This year we note the 150th anniversary of the birth of an interesting and often underrated French composer. He was scorned by the musical establishment, but has in recent decades enjoyed a revival of interest and appreciation. A complete CD recording of his solo piano music has been published in honor of the anniversary. We refer you to the KUSC site:

Erik Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

A fixture in the avant-garde in Paris at the turn of the 20th-century, Satie was an important influence on such diverse figures as Stravinsky, Debussy,and Philip Glass. This new compilation includes 5 CDs of solo piano music performed by acclaimed French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and a bonus CD of four-handed piano music with Jean-Philippe Collard and Pascal Roge. Magnifique!

His short piece Vexation, designed to be repeated 840 times had its world premier 70 years after its composition, on 9 September 1963 before a gathering of off-Broadway actors and artists at the Pocket theater in Manhattan.   It took John Cage and his relay team of pianists, including John Cale who would later co-found the Velvet Underground, 18 hours and 40 minutes to perform the musical marathon from start to finish, playing continuously from 6pm until lunchtime the following day. Patience was rewarded: those who attended were refunded five cents of their $5 dollar ticket for every 20 minutes they stayed, with a bonus for anyone who crossed the finish line. Only one man did; another, as it finished, called out “encore”. Pollyanna is properly impressed.
Portrait of Erik Satie playing the harmonium by Santiago Rusiñol. Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images


Hieronymus Bosch 1450-1516 

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Jheronimus van Aken, the Flemish master who signed his works as Jheronimus Bosch. His imagination ranged from a place beyond the spheres of Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell, but for many of his earliest admirers the most striking aspect of his art was what they described as its “truth to nature.”

The round anniversary has generated two major exhibitions and a spate of books. The New York Review of Books provides an interesting article to those who can reach it. 

The exhibitions and books include:

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius an exhibition at NoordbrabantsMuseum, ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, February 13–May 8, 2016Catalog of the exhibition by Matthijs Ilsink and Jos KoldeweijBrussels: Mercatorfonds, 191 pp., $35.00 (paper) (distributed byYale University Press)

Bosch: The Fifth Centenary Exhibition an exhibition at the MuseoNacional del Prado, Madrid, May 31–September 11, 2016 Catalog ofthe exhibition edited by Pilar Silva Maroto Madrid: Museo Nacionaldel Prado, 397 pp., €33.25 (paper)

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions and Nightmares by Nils BüttnerReaktion, 208 pp., $22.50 

Jheronimus Bosch: The Road to Heaven and Hell by Gary SchwartzOverlook Duckworth, 254 pp., $70.00 Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman: Catalogue Raisonné bythe Bosch Research and Conservation Project Brussels:Mercatorfonds, 607 pp., $150.00 (distributed by Yale UniversityPress)


Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights by Hans BeltingPrestel, 125 pp., $14.95 (paper) 

The highlights mark links to reviews.
The Garden of Earthly Delights


The world refugee crisis continues to fester. Amnesty International has issued a call for people action. Right now, record numbers of people worldwide have beenforced to flee their homes. But instead of showing true leadership and protecting refugees, most countries are slamming their doors shut.

The world’s wealthiest nations are leaving a handful of countries to cope alone with nearly all the world’s 21 million refugees. Powerful media and politicians are manipulating reality and dehumanizing them, portraying refugees as “illegal”, or faceless “invaders” who are “a security threat”. They are evading their responsibility to protect people fleeing violence, persecution and conflict. And every single day that goes by, their indecision and inaction are causing immense human suffering.
William, 11, is a refugee living in a camp in northern Kenya. “I was born here in Kakuma, but I know we had a lot in Sudan. We had three houses: one for cattle, a shed and one that we lived in." © Amnesty International (Photo: Richard Burton)

But if we can’t rely on our politicians to change the world, we shall do it ourselves. Our recent survey of people’s attitudes across the world showed that 80% of us stand ready to welcome refugees into our countries, communities – even our own homes. Together, we are a movement of people who believe that the things that unite us are far more powerful than those that divide us.  We do not see refugees as a threat, but as people whose lives are under threat-people who need a safe place to start again and a chance to make a positive contribution to society. 
We appreciate the commitment of President Obama to accept 110,000 Syrian refugees, but the 10,000 so far is a  paltry fraction and the attitude of state governors is shameful
Please sign the Pledge.


Pollyanna is very excited about the apparent discovery of an Earth-like planet just around the corner at Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years away. European Southern Observatory (ESO) officials have finally confirmed that they have discovered a newexoplanet candidate named Proxima b inside the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri - a red dwarf star in our closest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri. While the experience of other recent "discoveries" that were later debunked (Big Bang echoes for example) should be kept in mind, this finding appears quite solid.
Artist impression of system

Nonetheless, as put so well by the late Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and David Hume wrote in 1748: "A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence", and "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." In the case of Proxima b a group of researchers launched a campaign to ferret out the planet. They called this effort the Pale Red Dot — a nod to Carl Sagan's famous description of Earth as a "pale blue dot," and the fact that Proxima Centauri is a small, dim star known as a red dwarf. The results are most convincing.


Here us a link to a timeline of the variation of Earth's temperature. Thank you Munro.

This might be useful depending on the degree of idiocy of the denier you are foolhardy enough to engage in a discussion. As Andy Borowitz pointed out the in New Yorker (June 23, 2015) "Many Americans are tired of explaining things to idiots, particularly when the things in question are so painfully obvious, a new poll indicates...Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins."

On the subject of climate change, Pollyanna is disgusted with the pussyfooting and hypocrisy of scientific organizations refusing to stand up to polluting corporations. In particular, as members of the American Geophysical Union, we signed the petition calling for the AGU to drop support from Exxon. The AGU board just received the petition with 50,000 signatures and we hope it will show courage and integrity.
Image Credit: The Natural History Museum


Here is a What If from the archive
Is there any way to fire a gun so that the bullet flies through the air and can then be safely caught by hand? e.g. shooter is at sea level and catcher isup a mountain at the extreme range of the gun. 
The answer is yes and we find it amusing.

Ed Hui, London 


Our leaders have a wonderful grip on reality

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