Friday, February 29, 2008

Delivering More Obama Inspiration

Will.I.Am delivers more inspiration for supporting Barack Obama. George Lopez, Jessica Alba agree We Are the Ones We Have been Waiting For...We Can Change The World.

March 4th, A day of History and Destiny is just ahead! VOTE!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Phone of the Future: A Wrist Twist

Recently, a friend had to get another cell phone. This is more traumatic than people realize because the beloved phone had every scrap of information loaded on it while it was disintegrating at warp speed with each new text message and phone call. Now, the new concept one has literally gone round the bend of the wrist. For those preferring a flat thin model, designers at Nokia accommodated that request too. From lugging phones the size of a brick to owning a chameleon personal phone worn like a watch one day, then bent to fit another accessory shape the next, while changing colors, is a great accomplishment in 15 years to the science of nanotechnology and miniaturization. Its even cooler when the phone, not even on the market yet, is on display at a Modern Art Museum, as part of a joint knowledge sharing venture.
Morph is a joint nanotechnology project between Nokia and Cambridge University currently on show at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

The MoMA display demonstrates how mobile devices of the future could change into radically different shapes, stretching and flexing at the users' whim - even changing colours.

"Developing the Morph concept with Nokia has provided us with a focus that is both artistically inspirational but, more importantly, sets the technology agenda for our joint nanoscience research that will stimulate our future work together," said nanotech expert Professor Mark Welland from the university.

The science is looking at revolutionary means to use microscopic synthetic hairs to solar power its cell phones and for the surfaces to clean up after themselves - germ resistance. Work product and details for environmental data gathering and personal health monitoring is in a non-public project named Eco-sensor. "Morph" is a phone geared to use technology for the masses into a self configured design that meets the users needs of the moment. There are challenges ahead, besides the line to get one that will dwarf attendance at an Obama rally or the 2007 campout to get the first iPhone, to integrate the technology into mass production with 0-defects, keep the price reasonable and accommodate next generations. Some of the technology will be available over the next seven years for other products and devices. Science fiction made real!

An army of homogenized MBA ants will accept the business challenge to put these ideas into production in a profitable way. But innovation is the province of everyone under the command of no one which is why good products go to die when analyzed to the nth degree. Read Clayton Christensen on the skills to See What's Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Moon Mountains & A WAY Bigger Grand Canyon

Who knew the moon had mountain ranges higher than the Rockies tallest peaks with valleys that plunged 2.5 miles down below the surface? Impressive, a rotating pebble in the universe with technicolor highlights from last week's lunar eclipse has a wider range of topography in a smaller geographical space than Earth. This is all in advance of NASA's long held ambition to open up a moon base near the Moon's south pole. High resolution shots of the Moon are in great demand as
time draws short to make future lunar expeditions happen in less than twenty years. Engineers are building concept moon vehicles for the eventual moon landing. (NASA photo)

“We now know the south pole has peaks as high as Mount McKinley and crater floors four times deeper than the Grand Canyon,” said Doug Cooke, a deputy associate administrator at NASA. The new data is “not scaring us away,” he said, adding: “It’s intriguing. It’s just enhanced our understanding of it.”

In 2006, NASA took advantage of a once-in-17-years alignment when the Moon’s axis is tilted enough to get a good look at the bottom of the Moon. In three separate observations conducted months apart, the 70-meter radar dish at Goldstone directed a 90-minute-long radar signal at the Moon, and two 34-meter antennas at Goldstone recorded the echoes. That produced images covering a region 400 miles by 250 miles. The images have a resolution of 20 meters a pixel, and the terrain’s elevation at each point was measured to within five meters — good enough to distinguish something roughly the size of a house.

Lot shopping on the Moon is more difficult as the requirements of a place to land, enough light for solar powered equipment, maybe a great Earth view are now mapped to what the actual topography can accommodate. NASA's real estate speculators revised their bids with increasing anticipation for the unmanned lunar scouts to beam back sharper images as they hurtle at high velocity on the landing for the sake of creating a cloud of moon dust for anxious scientists to examine for any presence of ice. Ice, the new must-have as NASA examines maximizing all of the Moon's resources as pioneering astronauts attempt to set up housekeeping for other manned missions. Besides, no joke, NASA is planning to launch a mobile phone network on the moon reaching out and touching orbiting satellites.

The new images suggest the moon will be a rich site for scientific study, according to Kelly Snook, NASA's chief lunar scientist. The Earth and moon formed about 4.5 billion years ago along with the other planets. The Earth's surface has been altered by wind and water, forces absent from the moon.

"It's a history book really for the formation of our solar system," said Snook. "We cannot get this information anywhere else."

However late this year, NASA's plans to launch the unmanned Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter and its companion, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, to take a fresh look.

The mission is part of NASA's strategy to return human explorers to the moon by 2020 to establish an outpost and training ground for future missions to Mars. (NASA)

The Moon is a great slingshot from Earth and gets NASA ever closer to a manned mission to Mars. Earth, provided a great once in a seventeen year opportunity to study through a telescope platform based in California.

Updated in a second edition is The Moon: Resources Future Development and Settlement that speaks to NASA's long held hopes on making the moon a jumping off point to the rest of the solar system and the Milky Way. This is a group effort by David Shrunk, Burton Sharpe, Bonnie L. Cooper, and Madhu Thangavelu.

Peru Digs Up More Proof of Early Civilization

Sixteen years of digging in the dirt in the inaccessible Andean foothills of Sechin Bajo paid off for Peru, two German archaeologists and their prominent local peers with a find that further challenges the concept of the Cradle of Civilization. There are certainly more than one and this find augments Peru's historic stake. Peru has its share of 5,000 year old pyramid structures too. Mesopotamia, South Asia and the Middle East have competing company from the coast of Peru from further finds of an Inca Plaza validated by carbon dating to 3500 to 3000 B.C. This is the fourth in a series of digs sponsored by a university in Berlin.

From northern Peru, Casal, remains the oldest known Preceramic civilization in the Americas with carbon dating and other tools pinpointing the date to an astounding 2627 B.C. Next to the recently discovered structure, showing an ancient version of suburban sprawl, an early six foot frieze was found depicting what many believed was the aftermath of a typical human sacrifice imprinted with a man holding a trophy head. What makes that cultural discovery especially interesting is similar imagery was unearthed in Moche Lords of Sipan tombs sparking questions about migration, economic viability and civilizations interaction in such inhospitable conditions.

After the ruins are rehabbed and cleaned up after archaeologists finish with their grids and ropes, they look spectacular as evidenced here in Machu Picchu, The Lost City of The Incas. These ancient cities had early urban planning and thoughtful means of adapting to the terrain. The newly discovered Plaza seems to show the tenets of community building by the Incas was shared knowledge. (Allard Schmidt)

"It's an impressive find; the scientific and archaeology communities are very happy," added Dr Cesar Perez from Peru's National Institute of Culture who led the project. "This could redesign the history of the country."

The site consists of an area around 14 metres across and scientists say it was built by the Incas who ruled Peru prior to the invasion of the Spanish.

Scholars are turning their keen nuanced attention to the indisputable evidence that several civilizations thrived simultaneously in ancient times. Past historic finds have found a layering of communities atop one another as centuries passed. This lends itself to the buried ancient suburban sprawl scenario according to some scholars who worked on past digs.

"We've found other pieces of architecture underneath the plaza that could be even older," German Yenque, an archaeologist at the dig site, told the Reuters news service.

"There are four or five plazas deeper down, which means the structure was rebuilt several times, perhaps every 100 to 300 years."

Kim McQuarrie covers the 16th century forward for the Incas in The Last Days of the Incas. Peru is a meld of its ancient and modern past as it struggles to make its history known amid the attention paid to the contemporary Middle East societies with their finds of antiquity known the world over.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Archives, Saints, Heresy & Apologia in the Church

It seemed much easier to get beatification bestowed than to capture a coveted open invitation into the depths of the Vatican's secret archives. This is a universal church that took 400 hundred years to agree Galileo was right in his support of Copernicus's reasoning that the earth moved around the sun, final formal recognition of proven fact came in in 1992. The Vatican's magnificent art archives and extensive museum artifacts are legendary. Vault archives remained shrouded in lore, mystery and secrecy. The former Holy Office records from a few centuries past outline the terror visited upon the French Huguenots, among assorted others, opened to allow a very few select scholars to review certain archived material in 1998. Now History of the Inquisition is available to the lay person in the form of a museum exhibition. But hurry, like cereal coupons and sainthood, this limited visit offer ends 16 March, 2008. The Vatican museum and the Archives are next door one another in Vatican City. (Some may recognize the Museum's stairway)

The Holy Office "wanted total control," said Monsignor show's curators and on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Alejandro Cifres, previously known as the Holy Office.

The Holy Office relied on reports from Dominicans, Franciscans and lay people, he said, and the Church had a "network" of monitors.

Napoleon's forces carted off bundles of documents from the Holy Office.

After his fall in the early 1800s, the French government wanted to return the material but the cost of transport was too high, Cifres said, and the order went out from Rome to burn many of the files. (AP Photos)

Sins of the church involving torture and persecution are absent in these documents and may have been burned at the stake. There are heresy trial records and more recent archives are under assault. The Roman Curia runs the Holy See's bureaucracy. One fly landed in the Saints R Us in a Century Department's anointing ointment as a direct result of a pope's silence/prudence during the Holocaust. There are strident calls that the march to sainthood for Pius XII be stopped in its turtle swift tracks until the church opens its World War II archives.

Last May, the Vatican's saint-making department voted in favor of a decree recognizing Pius's "heroic virtues," a major hurdle in a long process toward sainthood that began in 1967.

"Some people talk about problems that in reality don't exist, I believe. Many say: 'It's not going forward because he is famous for his silence in condemning Nazism, that he didn't condemn Nazism," he said.

"This is not historically accurate. Instead of silence, I would speak of 'prudence'. There was not silence."

The Vatican maintains Pius did not speak out more forcefully against the Holocaust because he was afraid of provoking Nazi reprisals and worsening the fate of Catholics and Jews.

Ongoing quests continue to gain fuller access to the Vatican's records on a number of topics.

Dava Sobel brought Galileo back into the modern mind with a ringing authenticity in Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love as the letters reach back to us between father and beloved daughter.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar 2008 Glitz & Glam Fashion Fest

After much nail biting among fans, a horde of therapy sessions for stressed out stars and a six month strike from the folks that make Hollywood films seem brilliant or stupid, chiefly writers, the 80th annual Oscars are ON! (photos from Reuters)
Queen Helen Mirren trailed by dull Cameron Diaz in Dior, a Chanel late Penelope Cruz and sexy Hillary Swank in Versace
Welcome to the most famous Red Carpet in the world and my take on who wore what by design and mistake at the 2008 Oscars:


Red is a color Anne Hathaway, Hollywood Princess styled to perfection. #1

Heidi Klum fashionista extraordinaire in John Galliano with intricate up-do. Ruby DEE!!!
Katherine H in Escada, the Dwayne Johnson and some lady's hat that had to come from a vintage British milliner where they have occasion for these things.

Really, you shouldn't have, honest! Second INFORMED opinions would've been truly worth IT... In Black Tilda Swinton. Julie Christie was dressed by a blind stylist.

Diablo Cody is Juno's GREAT writer...
Daniel Day Lewis and the wonderful rosy world of Viggio Mortenson.

Hairspray's John Travolta and the blazing beautiful yellow silk worn by Kelly Preston. A debonair perfectly coiffed & filled with mischief leading man, George Clooney with a florally beaded detail gal pal.

Blandly exciting in a droll way...
Kristin Chenoweth to the Oscars, Amy Ryan in Calvin Klein & polka dots Melora Hardin

And the Under Aged crowd: Saoirse Ronan dreamy and under 15 in Isle of Eire Green Atonement and Mylie Cyrus in Valentino signature Red.

A couple A couple of colors dominated the red carpet - dramatic black and vivacious red with exquisite feathers or theatrical trains stunning and vying for best of the night!

The Russells - may not be related or dressed by the same stylist: Keri the younger in a blah white and the 1940's famous bra lady Jane Russell in something I can't quite figure out.

Glamming up Basic black or pure white with ruffles and truffles and mermaid detailing. Strike the pose....

Juno's Jennifer Garner & La Vie En Rose's Maria Cotillard in John Paul Gaultier & a ho hum Laura Linney plus an east west boob problem for two time awful Oscar dress, Jennifer Hudson.

Mom's to-be fashion worthy: the Gorgeous Jessica Alba wearing one of my faves of the night by Marchesa. Her hair was a crowning coronet.

The quintessentially great actress in a dumpy dress, Cate Blanchette. Nicole Kidman was much more restrained plastered her front in operatic diamond necklace.

Fashionistas can find more at the Fashion label. Here are some of my faves on fashion in my art form of choice, the book.

The austere and elegant judge from fave Project Runway, Nina Garcia, The Little Black Book of Style.

Dishy & glam secrets contained in All You Need to be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women, is très chic in outlining the god, the bad and the catty.

One of my favorite fashion houses captured in words and illustrations, Chanel: Collections and Creations, by a meticulous Danielle Bott.

The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed The Clothing Business Forever is one of those books that highlights and illuminates the fashion industry and how its practices led to the marketing shows on the red carpet today. Terry Agins knows her stuff and struts it on each page.