Landscape, or meatscape?

The Glover Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious art awards.  However, its latest winner has upset several apple-carts by his irreverent approach to the field. A Tasmanian artist has won a prestigious landscape prize with a painting of a hunk of meat sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes with peas and gravy. Hobart local Robert O’Connor won the Glover Art Prize for his painting ‘Somewhere near Oatlands’. “It’s fun to try and disrupt a landscape prize by entering a hunk of meat into it,” he said. “I was just trying to amuse myself really.” . . . While some love his piece,

Continue reading

Ancient fruit and modern tastebuds

I note that date palms with Biblical-era genetics have been grown from ancient seeds. Scientists have cultivated plants from date palm seeds that languished in ancient ruins and caves for 2,000 years. This remarkable feat confirms the long-term viability of the kernels once ensconced in succulent Judean dates, a fruit cultivar lost for centuries. The results make it an excellent candidate for studying the longevity of plant seeds. From those date palm saplings, the researchers have begun to unlock the secrets of the highly sophisticated cultivation practices that produced the dates praised by Herodotus, Galen, and Pliny the Elder. “The current

Continue reading

One perfect day in Sarajevo

In the light of my comments earlier today about the Superbowl halftime show, and as a counterpoint to the blatantly in-your-face sexuality on display there, here’s one of my happiest fan memories.  It’s the finals of the Winter Olympics figure skating competition in Sarajevo in 1984.  British couple Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean performed an absolutely spectacular routine that won perfect marks for artistic merit across the board, an unprecedented achievement in the Olympic Games.  It was a magical moment that enshrined them forever in the pantheon of ice skating heroes.  What’s more, they did so in a refined, gentlemanly and lady-like fashion, with

Continue reading

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat” – illegal alien edition

The headline is an old saying from the 19th century that I still enjoy.  It’s still valid, in almost every walk of life.  President Trump has just illustrated that in dealing with the invasion of this country by illegal aliens. Donald Trump’s policies to deal with the crisis on our southern border are working as intended. Mark Morgan, acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, says that daily apprehensions of illegal aliens have fallen from about 4,000 at the height of the crisis to around 1,300 now. What’s more, the 21-day average is less than 1,000 — a 78 percent drop over the

Continue reading

Important lessons to learn from the Texas church shooting

I’ve been watching the security camera footage of the Texas church shooting last Sunday, and reading as much as I can find about it.  It contains some important lessons for all of us, not just in terms of church security, but our personal approach to security as well. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the man who shot the criminal.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. Wilson recalled the events leading up to Sunday’s shooting and said there was concern about the individual as soon as he entered the building due to the way he was dressed, in a long coat with a fake beard

Continue reading

80 years of MiG fighters

The aircraft design bureau headed by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, which has gone down in history by the amalgamation of the first letters of their last names as MiG, was formed on December 8th, 1939 – 80 years ago, plus a few days.  Today it’s the “Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG” division of United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, and is still going strong. To celebrate the anniversary, the company produced this short video highlighting several of its most famous designs, from the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters of World War II, to the MiG-15 that terrorized Allied aircraft during the Korean War, to the MiG-17, –19 and –21 of the Vietnam War era, to the MiG-29 that

Continue reading

Sneaky – but it paid off

The Miami Dolphins seem to make a habit of bringing off tricky plays that fool their opposition.  They did it again last weekend, with this fake kick at goal that turned into a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Miami won the game 37-31. It came almost exactly a year after the Dolphins’ famous “Miracle in Miami” touchdown against the New England Patriots, which still draws admiring and disbelieving comment from fans across the spectrum.  The play took place with only 7 seconds remaining in the match.  Talk about a nail-biter! Full marks to the Dolphins for both scores.  They aren’t in contention

Continue reading

Ebola: new drugs show promise, but we’re not out of the woods yet

I’m encouraged to hear that two new drugs to treat Ebola are showing promise, but the process of testing them has been fraught with difficulty – and bloodshed.  Nature reports: The race to develop treatments for Ebola has accelerated since the largest epidemic in history devastated West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Scientists responding to the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have enrolled more than 500 participants in an unprecedented study of experimental drugs, vaccinated nearly 170,000 people, and sequenced the genomes of more than 270 Ebola samples collected from the sick. . . . Working

Continue reading

The Holy Grail of the nuclear industry

I note with interest that Lockheed Martin’s experiments with nuclear fusion technology are moving right along. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes. . . . “The work we have done today verifies our models and shows that the physics we are talking about – the basis of what we are trying to do – is sound,”

Continue reading