Great Arctic sea ice hoax exposed

July 26, 2009

Look at the photos and see for yourself.  From 2006 to 2007, did sea ice at Barrow, Alaska, increase or decrease?

A comparison of polar sea ice at Barrow, Alaska -- July 2006 on the left, July 2007 on the right - public domain photo from U.S. military satellites.

A comparison of polar sea ice at Barrow, Alaska -- July 2006 on the left, July 2007 on the right - public domain photo from U.S. military satellites. Click for larger view from The Guardian.

These photos appeared in The Guardian — did they appear in any U.S. papers? — with a story that said the photos had been withheld by the Bush administration, and were recently released by the Obama administration.  (Bet these photos never show up on Anthony Watts’s blog.)*

Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.

The photographs demonstrate starkly how global warming is changing the Arctic. More than a million square kilometres of sea ice – a record loss – were missing in the summer of 2007 compared with the previous year.

Spin, from the presidency?  Who knew?

Climate change skeptics (read:  deniers) say that ice has come back in record amounts in 2008.  According to the news article, that isn’t exactly the case.

Nor has this loss shown any sign of recovery. Ice cover for 2008 was almost as bad as for 2007, and this year levels look equally sparse.

Science News noted the declassification, but without the hint of skullduggery on the part of the Bush administration.  The poster above comes from the USGS, which also included three more posters, one of the Beaufort Sea and two of glaciers — all of them showing declines in ice.

Stories that Arctic sea ice is expanding seem to be premature.

So all the claims that global warming has ended, that ice is threatening to extend its range and plunge us back into a cooling period — just hoax? Yep, just hoax.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Watching the World from Nicaraugua.

Update, 7-27-2009: A story going around the internet claims the poster at the top of this post is faked.  The poster comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, so I doubt it’s faked — they have no dog in the fight to fake it.  I think this goes to show that climate change “skeptics” have been sucked in by their own denial virus, and they will not even entertain information to the contrary of their beliefs.

*   Happy update, 8-2-2009: I’m happy to report I erred.  Actually, Anthony Watts reported on the release of the photos on July 15.  He didn’t use the Barrow photos, and he certainly did not claim that they are hoax photos.  He noted that the previously classified data have been released, and he seemed to think that there is no monkeying around with them.   It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the photos from here on in.

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An incalculable loss to history, and students of history – Werner E. Warmbrunn

July 25, 2009

Americans create great colleges. Our greatest national product is higher education. Within a few decades after Europeans landed in the Americas, colleges were created to spread knowledge to keep the colonies, and then the new nations, on the cutting edge of history and science.  Mostly they’ve worked well.  The world comes to our institutions of higher learning to learn, and to steal ideas about how to make that process work in their own nations.

In the 20th century we saw the founding in California of the Claremont Colleges, one of the most recent and most ambitious efforts to create a community of scholarship for undergraduates and graduates. The Claremont Colleges include Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Claremont Graduate University, and Keck Graduate Institute.  Pomona College dates from 1887, but the other colleges in the community all arose after 1925 (Claremont Graduate University).   Harvey Mudd was founded in 1955, Pitzer in 1963, and the Keck Institute in 1997.

Werner Warmbrunn came to Pitzer College as one of the small pioneering group of original faculty in 1963, the first year of the school.   On one hand, it’s exciting to be in on the creation of a great institution.  On the other hand, the philosophy of the Claremont Colleges is that faculty, though of first rate intellect, will spend a great deal of their time with students.  Demands of working with undergraduates probably hinders some of the faculty from achieving the great renown they could have achieved at other universities.  Students grow to love that system.  Some faculty yearn for other pastures, and strike out after a while for other academic homes.

Warmbrunn stuck it out at Pitzer.

I found this press release, on his death on July 19, 2009:

Professor Emeritus Werner E. Warmbrunn Dies

Claremont, Calif (July 23, 2009) – Werner Warmbrunn, founding member of the Pitzer College faculty and founding dean of faculty, died peacefully at home on July 19, 2009 at the age of 89.

Professor Warmbrunn was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1920. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1941. After receiving his degree from Cornell University, he began his teaching career at Putney School in Vermont. He received his PhD from Stanford University, where he later served in a variety of administrative posts for 12 years. In 1963, he was recruited by Pitzer’s first president, John Atherton.

Professor Warmbrunn helped design the academic programs for the new college in months before and after the arrival of Pitzer’s pioneer class of students. He is perhaps best known for his work in developing Pitzer’s unique community governance structure. He served on many committees, including the Faculty Executive Committee and two presidential search committees. Professor Warmbrunn ensured that Pitzer’s history would be recorded by founding an archive where papers, announcements and documents were preserved.

A passionate and committed teacher, Professor Warmbrunn was a recipient, in 1985, of the Pitzer College Alumni Association’s Academic Excellence Award. He received a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to continue his research on Belgium under German occupation during World War II. He became a professor emeritus in 1991.

Warmbrunn’s published works include The Dutch Under German Occupation and The German Occupation of Belgium. In recent years, he was active in the Claremont Democratic Club, serving as a senior author of The Claremont Manifesto.

He is survived by his wife, Loretta; daughters Erika and Susan; his step-children Linda Schone, Wes Fretter, Dianna Davis and Cynthia Fretter; and his grandchildren Andrea, Breanna, Zach, Matt and Lindsey.

A private family memorial will be held. Donations in honor of Professor Warmbrunn can be made to Pitzer College, where a scholarship will be created in his name.

A public memorial will occur at Pitzer College this fall.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top ranked undergraduate liberal arts institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

Of course that’s not the whole story. You need more information about Prof. Warmbrunn — and you will find it in this touching remembrance at Rational Rant, from sbh in Portland, one of Warmbrunn’s students. Go read that account.

Not a class day goes by that a student does not ask, “Why do we study history?”  Every good history teacher has a patterned response, sometimes including quoting Santayana, sometimes just recounting a great failure that could have been avoided had someone who should have known better, actually known history.  Sometimes the answer involves a great victory or leap forward, made possible by understanding the past.

Reality is more complex.  Sometimes just the study of history itself is the object.  Studying history under a teacher like Warmbrunn will not be recorded in the history books per se, as the study of history.  We can never overestimate the effects of such careful tutelage on the course of history, on the making of history.  History flows like a river.  Studying history is like fording the river — and sometimes a student needs someone skilled at fording the river to get the student across.  Sometimes that river is a Rubicon, or a Vistula, or a Rhine, or Mississippi, or Delaware, or Missouri, or Colorado, and getting a student safely to the mouth or the other side, makes all the difference.

Nota bene:

And see:


India accepts climate junk science; U.S. suffers

July 25, 2009

It would be good news were it not so bad:  India, usually considered a threat to U.S. dominance in science, has turned its back on climate science and instead, citing junk science claims, rejected overtures to reduce pollution that affects climate.  India appears to have fallen victim to the hoaxters who claim climate change is no big deal.

From the Financial Times:

A split between rich and poor nations in the run-up to climate-change talks widened on Thursday.

India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers.

He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.

“We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,” he said.

As if the atmosphere of the Himalayan range is unaffected by emissions from Europe or Asia.  As if the glaciers in the Himalayas, and the snowfall,  and the water to India’s great rivers, come independent from the rest of the world.

Deadly air pollution obscures the India Gate, New Delhi, India, November 2008 - NowPublic.com

Deadly air pollution obscures the India Gate, New Delhi, India, November 2008 - NowPublic.com

It’s interesting to see these issues play out politically.   India and China both understand that the U.S. and Europe have much more to lose from climate change than either of those nations.  Climate damage to the U.S. wheat belt, for example, would chiefly close off U.S. production of wheat for export, opening markets for others — like India and China.  Critically, such damage also hurts U.S. ability to offset balance of payments issues, providing economic and finance advantages to China’s banks.  U.S. ports are much more vulnerable to climate change damage, from increase storms and changing ocean levels, than are ports in India and China — and there are more ports that are vulnerable in the U.S. and Europe.

India’s inaction and recalcitrance should not be used as justification for the U.S. to do nothing, thereby slitting its own patriotic throat.

But watch:  Climate denialist blogs, “hate-America-first” outlets like World Net Daily, and Osama bin Laden will hail India’s inaction.

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail, lest we run out of cooler heads.

Shake of the old scrub brush to Brown Hell and Watt’s Up With That.

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Birthers: “We choose to wallow in the gutter”

July 25, 2009

It’s a stark contrast to the matter-of-fact, good-for-America views of John Kennedy.

One of the Birth-Certificate-Obsessed (BCO), blogging at I Took the Red Pill, lays out the hoax-induced hysteria in a comment at his blog; I’ll take a few minutes and explain the problems.  Maybe one or more of the BCOs will come to their senses.  [This guy at least allows contrary views on his blog; he’s a regular at Texas Darlin’, which means his views are certifiably nuts on issues he posts about at Texas Darlin’.  But I digress.]

Heh.  Maybe pigs will fly to the Moon.

I Took the Red Pill (Pill) said:

This issue will not go away.

Only because of defects in the actions of BCOs.  As Woody Allen’s script once noted, nothing wrong here that couldn’t be cured with Prozac and a polo mallet.

This issue is pathological in every regard.

Quite to the contrary, every day more and more people are realizing that the document produced at the Obama Camapaign Headquarters in Chicago is merely a hardcopy of the photoshopped forgery that first appeared on Daily KOS.

Wow.  Where to begin, when the force of denial is so strong in the BCOs?

You can view the document’s images here, and here.  It is a certified document from the State of Hawaii.  It bears the Seal of the State of Hawaii as authentic.  No one has produced any scintilla of evidence to suggest that the document is false. or not exactly what Hawaii swears it is with the attachment of the State Seal.

That’s a powerful attestation from the State of Hawaii — as the law sees it.  If a certified document under seal is not acceptable to the BCOs, one wonders what sort of documentation would be — there isn’t anything more trustworthy under the law.

Check the Federal Rules of Evidence, for example:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

(1) Domestic public documents under seal. A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the United States, or of any State, district, Commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or of a political subdivision, department, officer, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be an attestation or execution.

. . . (4) Certified copies of public records. A copy of an official record or report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed in a public office, including data compilations in any form, certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, by certificate complying with paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this rule or complying with any Act of Congress or rule prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority.[courtesy of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University’s Library]

Got that?  Under federal evidence rules, that document is self-proving, self-authenticating.  What evidence have the BCOs to contradict it?  Absolutely nothing.

The State of Hawaii has never verified that authenticity of that forgery.

The governor and the head of vital records said it’s NOT a forgery, if that’s what you mean.  In other words, they said the document is accurate in what it says:  Barack Obama, Jr., was born in Honolulu in 1961.

The State of Hawaii has never released any documentation of Obama’s birth.

Well, yeah, they did.  They sent to Barack Obama the certified document you claim is a forgery.

Moreover, in 1961, when Barack Obama was just a few days old and, we might assume, both physically and mentally unable to start a conspiracy to cover up the facts of his birth, the State of Hawaii released to the Hawaiian newspapers the records of births in Hawaii, including Obama’s — and those records were published in the newspaper.  Such documentation, contemporary with the events and extremely unlikely to be falsified, are valid in court.

Oh, and remember those Federal Rules of Evidence?  Look at what they say about such newspaper records:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

. . . (6) Newspapers and periodicals. Printed materials purporting to be newspapers or periodicals.

So we have two releases of documentation from the State of Hawaii, vouched for by the Republican governor. What gives you the right that every state of the union is denied, to claim this documentation doesn’t exist?  These are legal documents that make legal statements.  You can’t just handwave them away.  Pixie dust can’t cover them up, and the pixie dust of the BCOs isn’t all that powerful anyway.  The courts cannot wave away this sort of evidence, nor can the BCOs.

The mere existence of the newspaper account is legal evidence vouching for Obama’s claim. BCOs must produce extraordinary evidence of fraud or mistake in order to overcome the legal presumption that newspaper account provides.  BCOs have no extraordinary evidence to counter the documents.  BCOs have no evidence at all.

The State of Hawaii has never claimed that Obama was “born in Honolulu”, even though the Associated Press and Fact Check.org lied and claimed that Dr. Fukino had said that.

The State of Hawaii put its seal on such a statement, and it states Obama was born in Honolulu (see “place of birth”).  BCOs’ completely unevidenced and off-the-wall claim that the document was forged is evidence of BCO insanity, not Hawaii’s failure to act.

A newspaper announcement is circumstantial evidence that is not admissible as “proof” of his birth in Hawaii. Can you imagine a new employee trying to use a newspaper clipping as proof of their U.S. citizenship? It’s laughable. If that won’t work to get you a job at McDonalds, it’s certainly not acceptable for the highest office in this country.

It’s a business record, actually.  When you get to your law school class on evidence, you’ll learn that contemporary accounts from unbiased sources which are difficult to fake and easy to corroborate are, indeed, acceptable in a court of law.  In this case, the published account of the vital records entries corroborates exactly the information provided by the State of Hawaii under seal.

And, as I noted above, it’s a self-authenticating piece of evidence under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Pill is simply dead wrong on the acceptability of newspaper accounts.

So we have a document certified as authentic and accurate by the State of Hawaii, so solid that the state backs it with their seal, the most sacred authenticating device in a state’s arsenal of authenticating devices, supported by a valid contemporary business record published in a general circulation newspaper where the record cannot be tampered with and which U.S. courts and agencies accept as valid.

But BCOs dismiss all the official, legal evidence, and BCOs claim, without any evidence or corroboration, without ever having looked at the documents, that the official documents are forgeries.

Liar, pants, fire.

Every Member of Congress swore an Oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution explicitly requires that a President be a Natural Born Citizen. It is the responsibility of Congress to honor their oath and verify the eligibility of the man who would be President.

I’ve sworn that oath myself, four times.  I regard it as a sacred trust.  One is never relieved of that oath, by the way.  That oath requires that we follow the law, the Constitutional law, the Constitution.  Barack Obama has presented clear  and convincing evidence of his eligibility by right of birth on U.S. soil.  The evidence is absolutely uncontradicted, plus it is corroborated by all legally-acceptable accounts.

Every member of Congress has a duty to stand up and tell the BCOs to take a chill pill and shut up. The courts have reviewed these bogus claims from BCOs more than a dozen times.  Not once has any BCO offered any evidence to contradict the legal records.  Not once.

Be careful what you wish for, Pill.  If Congress takes their oath seriously, BCOs are in for a lot of woe.

Every member of Congress failed to uphold their oath of office. They “outsourced” their Constitutional responsibility to an unaccountable, unelected, untrustworthy third party who demonstrably lied.

I’m convinced Pill wouldn’t know a lie if it bit him on the nose.  Here he’s peddling such a lie, instead of standing up for the truth.

Go to the link Pill provides, and you’ll see he claims that the certified, under seal document from the State of Hawaii should be disregarded because all it does is state what the official record is — he wants a hand-written document, as if hand-written provides some legal magic that the State Seal of the Great State of Hawaii cannot.

Look, if he won’t take the word of a self-proving document issued under seal, he’s not going to believe any document at any time.

Hawaii didn’t claim they put the State Seal on the original autograph copy; the State of Hawaii looked at the autograph and swore that the information they provided, all that is required, is accurate, is the same information that is on the original autograph.

For all legal purposes possible for Obama, the document whose image he released is THE document.  The document itself, under seal, swears that the information it presents is accurate:  Obama was born in Honolulu.  That’s it.  The end.

Two things are required to put this to rest:

1) A Supreme Court ruling on the definition of “Natural Born Citizen”. Can someone who was born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits that he was) be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States?

The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a citizen with full rights of citizens, period.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a natural-born citizen of the U.S.  Plus, a baby born to a U.S. citizen (as was Obama’s mother), is a natural-born citizen regardless of place of birth.  Obama qualifies on two separate counts.  There is not an iota of evidence from the BCOs nor any other source to contradict either of those valid claims on eligibility.

But here we see the weasel ways of the BCOs:  ” . . . born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits he was) . . .”

Obama didn’t say he was a citizen of another country.  He said his father was a citizen of the British Commonwealth, and under British law, he could have claimed dual-citizenship.  Under U.S. law, dual citizenship would not invalidate U.S. citizenship.

In order for this to have been a problem for Obama’s eligibility, Obama would have had to have claimed exclusive British citizenship at some point — which he never did.

So this is not a new question.  There is no new issue here that the courts and the Supreme Court have not looked at in the past.  There is no legal argument, no case in controversy on the issue of Obama’s citizenship.

There is nothing for any court to decide.  And that’s why the challenges to Obama’s eligibility have all failed.

2) If the Supreme Court finds that persons born with foreign citizenship can still be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States, then Congress needs to inspect an officially certified birth certificate for Barack Obama, delivered under seal from the State of Hawaii, just as they did with their inspection of the Certificate from the Hawaiian Secretary of State for the certification of the Electoral College vote.

That document, “delivered under seal form the State of Hawaii,” has been provided.  BCOs claim, without any documentation, it’s a forgery.  BCOs need to get their eyes examined.

And, if they are found to be not blind, they need to get their heads examined.

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Fun in merchandising

July 25, 2009

HEMA is a department store in the Netherlands.  Like all other businesses, it now has on-line shopping.

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

But it’s online with a diffference.  Load this page, and then wait a few seconds . . .

(Can you tell whether this is a real HEMA page, or just a good parody?  Anyone?)

(And, what kind of software does one need to do that kind of animation?  Is there any classroom use for this?)


Quote of the moment: John F. Kennedy, “We choose to go to the Moon”

July 24, 2009

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 - photo from NASA

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 – photo from NASA

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas

Why this speech in Houston?  There’s more here than just a speech in a football stadium.  Kennedy was working to save the space initiative, and to make America more secure.

In this quest, Kennedy lays out the reasons we need strong science research programs funded by our federal government, and strong science educational achievement in all of our schools.

From the White House History Association:

Race to the Moon

President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) awoke on April 12, 1961, to the news that the Soviet Union had won the race to put a man into space. Kennedy immediately met with Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the White House to discuss the embarrassment of the Soviets beating America again. “Can we put a man on the moon before them?” Kennedy asked. A few weeks later, Kennedy challenged the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

Kennedy challenged Congress and the imaginations of all Americans a few weeks later, when on May 25, in a special Joint Session of Congress, he proposed a Moon exploration program.  In a speech outlining defense and foreign policy needs to make the U.S. secure and safe against threats from Soviet communism, or any other nation or faction, Kennedy spoke openly about the space race that had been waged since October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union became the first nation on Earth to orbit an artificial satellite, Sputnik.

Kennedy told Congress in that part of the speech:

Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of leadtime, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

(Here’s a link to an audio excerpt of that speech, from the Kennedy Library.)

The race was on.  The Soviet Union’s massive rocket engines gave them a decided advantage.  Kennedy’s challenge captured the imagination of Americans and America.  Necessary money flowed from Congress, but not in a completely free flow.  Some opposed the nation’s efforts in space exploration because they thought spending on space exploration detracted from the nation’s defense efforts.  Kennedy continued to stress the connection between space exploration and defense.  He was backed by successes — Navy Commander Alan Shepard, Jr., had successfully launched into space and returned safely; and on February 20, 1962, pilot Marine Capt. John Glenn orbited the Earth three times, catching the U.S. up almost to where the Soviet Union was in manned space exploration.

Kennedy understood that constant attention, constant selling of the space program would be necessary.  So in September 1962 he found himself in Houston, the newly-designated home of the manned space program, and he took the opportunity to cast the American goals in the space race as peaceful, good for all mankind, and definitely worth the massive costs.

Notice in how he casts putting a human on the Moon in league with other great achievements of civilization.  Kennedy was truly shooting for the stars.

Notice also how he relates space exploration to practical applications then in existence, such as communication, navigation of ships at sea, and weather forecasting.  This was years before geosynchronus satellites were used for everyday telephone conversations, years before quantum theory was harnessed for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and digital personal, handheld telephones, and before the newly-invented printed circuits were miniaturized to make computer calculating a possibility in space — the Moon landing was done with slide rules and hand calculations.

Just over 14 months later Kennedy would die in Texas, in Dallas, on November 22, 1963.  On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Eagle Lunar Module on the Moon, at the Sea of Tranquility.  A few hours later, on July 21, they stepped out on the Moon.  From Kennedy’s speech to Congress, the task had taken 8 years, one month and 26 days.

More resources:

Tip of the old scrub brush for inspiration to “Anything You Ever Wanted to Know” at KERA-FM 90.1 in Dallas, on July 24, 2009.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, with Neil Armstrong, the U.S. flag, and the Eagle Lunar Module reflected in his helmet visor, July 21, 1969 - NASA photo via Wikimedia

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, with Neil Armstrong, the U.S. flag, and the Eagle Lunar Module reflected in his helmet visor, July 21, 1969 – NASA photo via Wikimedia

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Gray hair, Sonic Youth, Fender guitars

July 24, 2009

Am I the only one who sees a whiff of hopeful irony in a guitarist from Sonic Youth being gray?

From Fender:  Thurston Moore + Lee Ranaldo. Jazzmaster guitars slung across seminal shoulders. In the hands of both men, the sound of Sonic Youth is the sound of that guitar used as part paintbrush and part cluster bomb. Introducing the new Thurston Moore Jazzmaster and the Lee Ranaldo Jazzmaster guitars from Fender, releasing July 1st.

From Fender: "Thurston Moore + Lee Ranaldo. Jazzmaster guitars slung across seminal shoulders. In the hands of both men, the sound of Sonic Youth is the sound of that guitar used as part paintbrush and part cluster bomb. Introducing the new Thurston Moore Jazzmaster and the Lee Ranaldo Jazzmaster guitars from Fender, releasing July 1st." Photo from the Fender site.

That’s Lee Ranaldo on the right, with the teal guitar and gray hair.

Leon Anderson played a then-vintage Fender blond-neck Stratocaster in our bands back in Utah County, and it was a beautiful machine (and he an underappreciated guitarist).  I never could afford a Fender-brand bass.  I played two Vox devices, one of which I still own — but they played through an almost-original Fender Bassman amplifier, whose demise I still mourn.

Fender blonde-neck Stratocaster, a lot like the one Leon Anderson played - Guitar Village photo

Fender blonde-neck Stratocaster, a lot like the one Leon Anderson played, except Leon's wasn't nearly so beat up - Guitar Village photo

Watching the Fender company bend, dodge and run with the trends over the years has been a lot of fun.  One of my ex-brothers-in-law did the accounting and corporate legal work for Leo Fender way back when; as an indication of how stuffy the brother-in-law was, consider that he didn’t have any Fender guitars — or any guitars — when I knew him.  How could one work with a master like Leo Fender and not get hooked on the guitars?

Ultimately the guitars are the legacy and history of the company.  As with Stradivarius instruments, the music made on the guitars and the instruments themselves outshine the makers and any corporate entity required to get the instruments manufactured.  Corporate owners of the Fender name and legacy don’t drive that car, but only hold on for the ride and try to keep the moving parts lubricated and clean.

Any Sonic Youth fans out there?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ufghanistan.


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