Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales, Slapstick Comedian, Dies at 83

"Soupy Sales, whose zany television routines turned the smashing of a pie to the face into a madcap art form, died Thursday night. He was 83.

...Cavorting with his puppet sidekicks White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion and Hobart and Reba, the heads in the pot-bellied stove, transforming himself into the private detective Philo Kvetch, and playing host to the ever-present “nut at the door,” Soupy Sales became a television favorite of youngsters and an anarchic comedy hero for teenagers and college students.

...Clad in a top hat, sweater and bow tie, shuffling through his Mouse dance, he reached his slapstick heyday in the mid-1960s on “The Soupy Sales Show,” a widely syndicated program based at WNEW-TV in New York."

Growing up in the WNEW-TV broadcast area in New Jersey, I remember Soupy well.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coloring this weekend

I plan on doing a lot of coloring with my pencils this weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turning Heads for 38 Years

1963 Jaguar E-Type, a classic sports carImage via Wikipedia

"The E-Type design is one of the timeless shapes in automotive history. In 1996, the Museum of Modern Art in New York focused an entire show on the car. It was called “Refining the Sports Car: Jaguar’s E-Type."

I've asked for this car for my birthday every single year. I'm still waiting.

Read the article by clicking on the title bar.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

"More than a year after an explosion of sparks, soot and frigid helium shut it down, the world’s biggest and most expensive physics experiment, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is poised to start up again. In December, if all goes well, protons will start smashing together in an underground racetrack outside Geneva in a search for forces and particles that reigned during the first trillionth of a second of the Big Bang.

Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."

Read the rest of this fascinating essay by clicking the title bar.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Girl, two, with IQ of 160 praised for 'wonderful imagination'

A two-year-old girl has been found to have an IQ of 160, making her among the top 0.03 per cent of the population in Britain.

"Karina Oakley was asked to question numbers and complete challenges in several different categories, including verbal ability, memory, handling a pencil and numbers and shapes.

Some of the answers showed a "wonderful imagination", according to Prof Joan Freeman, the child psychologist who used the Stanford-Binet IQ intelligence test.

When asked, 'What do you use your eyes for?' Karina answered: 'You close them when you go to sleep' and then also said: 'You put your contact lenses in them'.

Karina, from Guildford, Surrey, has an IQ 60 points above the mean for the population.

Prof Freeman said a score of 160 was rare, but was not unheard of. The test goes up to 170.

Her mother, Charlotte Fraser, who previously worked in marketing, and her father, Nick, a computer programmer, said their daughter had a very good memory.

Her mother said: "Quite a lot of people had said to me that Karina is quite smart, quite bright, quite clear with her speech and quick to pick things up.

"So I looked Prof Freeman up on the internet, and gave her a call to see if she would see her and get her tested. It was just a bit of fun really."

She added: "She seems to be quite aware of her surroundings, what's going on around her, she is very observant, she talks all the time, asks questions all the time.

"The nature verses nurture argument is a very interesting one.

"I have stayed at home with her for almost three years, I have always talked to her a lot, always tried to answer her questions, we do a lot of things, we go to the park and we are part of various groups. That must make a difference.

"I do not know whether it is that, combined with something that she was born with."

After the test, the professor concluded: "Karina is a lovely, responsive and friendly little girl. She is more than very bright and capable, she is gifted."

She added: "Karina enjoyed the test. The pleasure she took in the mental challenge in itself I have found to be a sign of intelligence."

Another two-year-old girl, Elise Tan-Roberts, from Edmonton, north London, was recently found to have an IQ of 156. She can count to 10 in English and Spanish and recite the phonetic alphabet. She could also name 35 capital cities."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Two-year-old girl with IQ of 156

A two-year-old girl has become the youngest member of Mensa with an estimated IQ of 156.

By Chris Irvine
Published: 7:02AM BST 30 Apr 2009

"Elise Tan-Roberts was five months when she spoke her first word, calling her father "Dada". She was walking three months later and running two months after that.

Before her first birthday should could recognise her written name and by 16 months she could count to 10. She is now able to do the same in Spanish.

Inspired by the story of Georgia Brown, who also joined Mensa when she was two, her parents Louise and Edward, from North London, took her last month to see Professor Joan Freeman, a specialist education psychologist.

After Elise completed a 45-minute IQ test, Prof Freeman concluded in a written report that Elise was "more than very bright and capable - she is gifted."

Only those with an IQ of 148 and above, the top two per cent, qualify for Mensa. The average IQ is 100. For a child her age, Elise is in the top 0.2 per cent.

Her father, a 34-year-old motor consultant, said: "Our main aim is to make sure she keeps learning at an advance pace.

"We don't want to make her have to dumb down and stop learning just to fit in. But she's still my baby. I just want her to be happy and enjoy herself."

Carol Vorderman has an IQ of 154."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Two-year-old with same IQ as Einstein

Season 10 saw the first of Stephen Hawking's t...Image via Wikipedia

Oscar Wrigley, a two-year-old with the same IQ as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, has become the youngest boy in Britain to be accepted into Mensa.

By Chris Irvine
Published: 8:00AM BST 10 Oct 2009

"Assessors at the Gifted Children's Information Centre in Solihull said Oscar, with an IQ of at least 160, is one of the brightest children they have every come across.

He has been ranked in the 99.99th percentile of the population and has been ranked off the scale as the Stanford-Binet test cannot measure higher than 160.

Oscar's father Joe, 29, an IT specialist from Reading in Berkshire, said: "Oscar was recently telling my wife about the reproductive cycle of penguins.

"He is always asking questions. Every parent likes to think their child was special but we knew there was something particularly remarkable about Oscar.

"I'm fully expecting the day to come when he turns around and tells me I'm an idiot."

Mother Hannah, 26, told The Daily Mail: "He amazes everyone. We knew at 12 weeks he was extremely bright. He was unusually alert."

Mrs Wrigley, a housewife, added: "His vocabulary is amazing. He's able to construct complex sentences.

"The other day he said to me, 'Mummy, sausages are like a party in my mouth'."

Dr Peter Congdon, who assessed Oscar, said he was a "child of very superior intelligence".

"His abilities fall well within the range sometimes referred to as intellectually gifted. He demonstrated outstanding ability," he said.

John Stevenage, Mensa's Chief Executive confirmed Oscar had been accepted aged two years, five months and 11 days.

"Oscar shows great potential. Converting that potential to achievement is the challenge for his parents and we are delighted that they have chosen to join the Mensa network for support", he said.

The youngest British child to join Mensa is Elise Tan Roberts, from Edmonton, North London, at two years, four months and 14 days, with an IQ of 156."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A Quest to Read a Book a Day for 365 Days

"Last Oct. 28, on her 46th birthday, Nina Sankovitch read a novel, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog,” by Muriel Barbery. The next day she posted a review online deeming it “beautiful, moving and occasionally very funny.”

The next day she read “The Emigrants,” by W. G. Sebald, and the day after that, “A Sun for the Dying,” by Jean-Claude Izzo. On Thanksgiving she read Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Isaac Newton; on Christmas, “The Love Song of Monkey,” by Michael S. A. Graziano; on July 4, “Dreamers,” by Knut Hamsun. When seen Friday, she was working on “How to Paint a Dead Man,” by Sarah Hall. She finished two more over the weekend when her family (husband; 27-year-old stepdaughter; four boys ages 16, 14, 11 and 8) traveled to Rochester for her in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary."

Click the title bar to read the rest

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Albert Lea Tribune | Editorial: Why Bob Dylan deserves a Nobel

Albert Lea Tribune | Editorial: Why Bob Dylan deserves a Nobel

On Thursday, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced. Will the Swedish Academy finally acknowledge that it’s possible to create art within the parameters of popular culture?

Reacting to the claim made by academy member Horace Engdahl that American literature is provincial, the Danish professor Anne-Marie Mai chose to announce publicly that she had nominated Bob Dylan for this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. In the same breath, she noted that many of her colleagues had done the same.

Mai writes in the Danish newspaper Politiken that Bob Dylan has at once returned poetry to its tonal and musical source and transformed poetry into a form of artistic expression that speaks directly to our contemporary world.

The history of the Nobel prize is full of bad decisions. It’s a catastrophe that theater jack of all trades Dario Fo got the prize in 1997, while Ingmar Bergman never did. Fo made an impact on the theater world, but he’s no great writer; Bergman wasn’t just a poet of the cinema, he was also a great wordsmith. And that must be a criteria for the literature prize: whether a given nominee is good with words.

I’m glad that the Swedish Academy at times excavates neglected authors, as they did last year with J.M.G. Le Clezio, or when the totally unknown Polish poet Szymborska got the prize in 1996.

But if the Nobel Prize in Literature is to retain its significance, then it must go to a writer with cultural value that reaches beyond the confines of academia.

— Aftenposten, Oslo,Norway, Oct. 7

Which Makes the Better Writer: the Hand or the Keyboard? Age Is a Part

"05 October 2009
AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: we talk with an expert on children and handwriting.

RS: Virginia Berninger is an educational psychology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. She tells us about a study which found that children sometimes do a better job as writers when they compose the words by hand than when they type them on a keyboard.

VIRGINIA BERNINGER: "And this was a chance to follow over two hundred children -- it was about two hundred forty -- longitudinally, once a year for five years. And I looked comprehensively at writing development. And what we found, which was very surprising to us, is that they wrote longer essays, they wrote the words faster. And, in the paper just published, they wrote more complete sentences in fourth and sixth grade when they were writing in handwriting by pen than when writing on keyboard."

Click the title bar to read the full interview

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Crash test: 1959 Chevy Bel Air

Think those big hunks of steel from our automotive past are safer than today's 'plastic' cars?

"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a unique crash test to demonstrate the advances in motor vehicle safety over the last 50 years. In this test, a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air are both going 40 mph and the vehicles collide offset, driver side to driver side. This is the same crash configuration represented by the Institute's 40 mph frontal offset barrier test, which is used to rate the frontal crash performance of new cars."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Little Luxury to Honor India's Man of Modesty

Gandhi Loyalists Appalled by $23,000 Commemorative Pen

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 3, 2009

NEW DELHI, Oct. 2 -- Images of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the father of modern India and an icon of asceticism and nonviolence, have ended up in some unlikely places before, including in ads for Apple computers and on counterculture T-shirts.

But it's fair to say that the latest incarnation may be the most ironic: Gandhi, in his signature loincloth, hawking a $23,000 fountain pen named in his honor.

The limited-edition Montblanc fountain pen in 18-carat solid gold is engraved with Gandhi's image and tricked out with a saffron-colored mandarin garnet on the clip and a rhodium-plated nib. Unveiled in honor of what would have been Gandhi's 140th birthday on Friday, the pen has prompted howls from Hindu groups and Gandhians, who say the sticker price is the lifetime income of many of India's poor while the Center for Consumer Education in the southern state of Kerala has sued to stop sales of the pen, calling it "a mockery."

Click the title bar to read the entire article

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Dunhill Fighter Provenance Fountain Pen

by Jared Paul Stern

"The new Fighter Provenance Fountain Pen from London-based luxury goods firm Dunhill does not take its name in vain: the limited edition writing instrument is made from the original aluminum engine casing taken from the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine of the legendary World War II Spitfire MK1 fighter plane. Produced in very small numbers due to the scarcity of the material, the pen's details also reflect this iconic aircraft - the bolt and rivet effects in the original aluminum; the tapered edges echoing the aerodynamics; and a window feature on the side of the barrel displaying level of ink and even the pen clip design directly references the shape of the spitfire propeller. The cap is also created using plexiglass which is exactly the same material used for the bubble canopy of the late 1930's and early 1940's fighter planes."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]