November 12, 2014
Wild Mustangs In 4K
U.S. Judge Richard Gergel ruled today that South Carolina's bans on same-sex marriage "unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of Plaintiffs under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and are invalid as a matter of law." The decision has been stayed until November 20.
Judge Gergel is a native of South Carolina who got his law degree from Duke. He was nominated to the District Court in 2009 by President Obama. He was confirmed in August 2010. His nomination was supported by South Carolina members of Congress of both parties.
The ESA Troubles Me
And I'm sure you are all equally troubled as you sit watching the live feed of the landing of Philae on Comet 67P (Success! has just been declared as I write) and stare at this odd rainbow, as seen in the photo below:
The blurry letters say "European Space Operations Centre." The rainbow, however, is just wrong: indigo - pale blue(?) - green - orange - red - yellow. I'm not going to quibble that there are only six colors, like the gay rainbow. It's the sequence that gets to me. It should be indigo - pale blue(?) - green - yellow - orange - red. This is, after all, a science agency - not the paint chip display at Home Depot.
Earthquake Swarm In Nevada
A swarm of earthquakes has been occurring in northwest Nevada. This USGS map shows 225 quakes of all magnitudes over the last seven days. The two biggest quakes were magnitude 4.7. The cyan dot is one of those.
Updated, interactive USGS map here. You can zoom out on that map just one click to see how close the swarm is to the future home of Black Rock City.
November 11, 2014
New Deal Deals
The Living New Deal is a project that started out focusing solely on the WPA in California, but then "In 2005, the project became a team effort to inventory, map, and interpret how the New Deal radically modernized California." In 2010 it was expanded to include the entire nation. They've got the whole New Deal and its projects indexed by city and state, by category, by agency, by artist [why the artists are not listed in alphabetical order is beyond me] and even alphabetically. The one piece listed for Diego Rivera, for example, is the "Pan-American Unity Mural" at the City College of San Francisco's Ocean View campus.
A search for New Deal projects in the Coachella Valley turned up only two: Palm Springs high school by the PWA (1938) and highway 60 (now I-10) between Indio and Chiriaco Summit by Federal Public Works (1934-1945) when the Colorado River Aqueduct was being built.
Phone vs. Cinema
One would think that those who attend a screening that's part of the American Film Institute Fest would have some interest in and respect for film-watching. But not always, as one attendee pepper-sprayed another attendee after being asked several times to turn off her phone at the Chinese 6 in Hollywood this past Monday.
Comet Landing Tomorrow
The full (very full!) schedule for the landing of Philae, the landing craft from Rosetta, on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The touchdown is scheduled for 8:03 AM Pacific Time tomorrow, November 12. Of course, reality will change the schedule. This is the first attempt at soft landing on a comet.
Live feeds available here. They start at 11 AM today, Pacific Time.
November 10, 2014
Google Rents Moffett Field
Google has agreed to lease Moffett Field for 60 years for...whatever. Feel free to imagine anything. Part of the deal is that Google will restore Hangar One.
Desert Hot Springs Medical Marijuana Rules
Here's the page on the city's website where they list all the requirements necessary to open a dispensary or cultivation site in the city. $6,115 Conditional Use Permit fee, refundable. Plus the $5,935 Regulatory Permit Application fee, also refundable. The application period opened last Friday and closes November 21.
Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center
The former Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan in Palm Springs, designed by E. Stewart Williams, has finally opened as the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. Opening on Pride weekend right on the edge of the Pride festival was surely no accident.
How it looks now, view from the southwest corner. It's got a big, flat open space and great light from all around.
How it looked in 2007, with a view from the northwest corner.
Architecture center sparkles for Palm Springs Art Museum debut
The new Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is more than just the museum's third campus. It is the museum's latest edition [sic] to its vast collection.
"It's a collection story also," Steven Nash, executive director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, told a small crowd of reporters gathered in front of the soon-to-open Architecture and Design Center Friday morning.
"We're one of the few museums that 'collects' mid-century modern buildings," Nash went on, calling to mind the museum's main building, finished in 1976 and the Albert Frey residence it also owns. "And now this gem in that crown."
The A and D Center is set to open to public Sunday. It marks the end of an eight-year journey that began only as "a crazy dream" by Sidney Williams, who is now curator of the Architecture and Design Center. The new facility will be dedicated to the exhibition and study or architecture and design; but also offer other experiences like lectures, walking tours and possibly even classes teaching courses like computer-aided design — otherwise known as CAD — drawing and perhaps even model-building.
The A and D Center opens with with "An Eloquent Modernist," a massive retrospective of the work of E. Stewart Williams, an architect who played a significant role in setting the stage for the built environment in Palm Springs throughout the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
Aside from the significant educational and cultural role the A and D Center is expected to play in the Coachella Valley, its allure is partly fueled by the building housing it — the former Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan, a 1961 glass-and-steel modernist bank designed by E. Stewart Williams. The building has undergone a meticulous $3.8 million historic restoration.
"I think this is such a great example and tribute to the power of rehabilitation, the power of modernism, within this particular community. And what a way to begin that by celebrating the man that was a true hero to me," Leo Marmol, an architect with the firm Marmol Radziner, which specializes in the restoration of mid-century modernist buildings and led the renovation of the A&D Center, told the crowd of reporters.
"'Dusty old buildings' is not a sound bite," said J.R. Roberts, managing director for the new 13,000-square-foot Architecture and Design Center. "We think of it more as a gem that needed a little bit of polish rather than a dusty old building."
November 9, 2014
Lewis Black On Burning Man
Mr. Black expresses his view. Warning: contains language by Lewis Black.
November 8, 2014
World War II MIAs and GoPro
The Battle of Peleliu took place from September 12, 1944, to November 27, 1944, although it was not until April 22, 1947, that all of the Japanese soldiers on the island surrendered. The island, occupied by 11,000 Japanese, was attacked by about 18,000 Marines. 1,794 Americans died in the battle, with 8,010 wounded or missing. Japanese casualties were considerably higher: 10,695 killed and 202 captured.
The Bentprop Project is "dedicated to locating and assisting with identifying American prisoners of war and missing in action from World War Two in Western Pacific Islands." In this effort they have been assisted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography-UCSD and the University of Delaware. They believe there are 70 to 80 recoverable MIAs in the coral reefs at Palau.
November 7, 2014
On Wednesday (November 5) of this week, a Missouri state judge declared that state's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstituitional. St. Louis County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. Now, two days later, a federal judge has come to the same conclusion. That federal decision was stayed, but the state judge's decision still holds in St. Louis County, at least.
The Sixth Circuit's Appeals Court decision that bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional will encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to render a clarifying decision some day. Read the Sixth Circuit decision here. "The traditional definition of marriage goes back thousands of years and spans almost every society in history," the court wrote, failing to address the fact that non-traditional definitions of marriage go back thousands of years and span almost every society in history.
Judge Daughtrey's dissent (begins on page 43 of the PDF version of the decision) should be read too. She starts out...
The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy. But as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state's constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is "who should decide?"—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism. In point of fact, the real issue before us concerns what is at stake in these six cases for the individual plaintiffs and their children, and what should be done about it. Because I reject the majority's resolution of these questions based on its invocation of vox populi and its reverence for "proceeding with caution" (otherwise known as the "wait and see" approach), I dissent.
"...although my colleagues in the majority pay lip service to marriage as an institution conceived for the purpose of providing a stable family unit 'within which children may flourish,' they ignore the destabilizing effect of its absence in the homes of tens of thousands of same-sex parents throughout the four states of the Sixth Circuit."
November 6, 2014
GoPro In Water On ISS
November 4, 2014
A federal judge in the Tenth Circuit has granted an injunction that bars the State of Kansas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage. An interesting twist in this case is that the defendants (the state) argued that common-law marriage provided a separate but equal alternative to ceremonial marriage. The judge issued a stay until November 11.
The state Supreme Court's hearing on the matter of Johnson County is still scheduled for Thursday.
Alan Freed's Palm Springs Home
Live! It's The Kansas Supreme Court!
See what passes for justice in Kansas as it is live streamed from their Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case of a Johnson County judge who directed a clerk to issue a same-sex marriage license in October are scheduled for 10 AM (Central Time, 2 hours ahead of Pacific) Thursday, November 6.
Mural In Coachella
The Shady Lane mural began in 1979 by "Artistas Del Barrio," a group of neighborhood artists who started painting on a visible wall and completed a few feet entering the early 1980s. It never got close to the idealized vision of filling the space with Chicano history. The original set of murals only took up a very small section of the six-foot high wall that runs just over 1,000 feet long. Years later, the wall began to crumble and sections fell to the ground, said Ruben Gonzalez, who with other neighborhood leaders pushed to restore the idea of a long wall with history that showcased local artists. The city agreed to help. "We got people together when the wall was to be taken down." Gonzalez said, and who now coordinates the new version of the same mural project, and takes the lead in looking for funding, securing donations of paint, and plans themes that replace the first set murals that were unsalvageable.
Lack Of Creativity In Today's Yoot
Once with a bottle of Fireball was creative. Some students at McGill University do very nearly the same thing with a bottle of rum. It's interesting to see how a GoPro responds to the different levels of light, but there is no other interest in this video. But I now suspect we will begin to see a string of binge-drinking GoPro videos. Let's hope they video the vomiting, the unpent anger, and all the other good things that go with drinking straight liquor.
I can find some GoPro videos featuring the use of bongs, but none yet where the camera is strapped to the lower part of the bong, facing up at the smoker. Let's get on it guys and show some creativity. Should be easy.