Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Strive to see yourself in everyone else

Photo removed

Synaptic Stimuli

Photo's removed

Get well soon Birdman

During a Quiksilver demo in Anaheim CA on July 24th, Tony took a hard slam on a mute 540 sending him to the local hospital. Tony's words via Twitter were Pelvic vertical shear injury & a hematoma in a pear tree is the semi-official diagnosis. All I know is: I can't lift my legs & it sucks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Afghanistan...for the long haul

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.

American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.

So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.

“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”

With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”

The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.

The Pentagon task force has already started trying to help the Afghans set up a system to deal with mineral development. International accounting firms that have expertise in mining contracts have been hired to consult with the Afghan Ministry of Mines, and technical data is being prepared to turn over to multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors. The Pentagon is helping Afghan officials arrange to start seeking bids on mineral rights by next fall, officials said.

“The Ministry of Mines is not ready to handle this,” Mr. Brinkley said. “We are trying to help them get ready.”

Like much of the recent history of the country, the story of the discovery of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is one of missed opportunities and the distractions of war.

In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

“There were maps, but the development did not take place, because you had 30 to 35 years of war,” said Ahmad Hujabre, an Afghan engineer who worked for the Ministry of Mines in the 1970s.

Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing.

But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. In 2009, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq was transferred to Afghanistan, and came upon the geological data. Until then, no one besides the geologists had bothered to look at the information — and no one had sought to translate the technical data to measure the potential economic value of the mineral deposits.

Soon, the Pentagon business development task force brought in teams of American mining experts to validate the survey’s findings, and then briefed Defense SecretaryRobert M. Gates and Mr. Karzai.

So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, and the quantities are large enough to make Afghanistan a major world producer of both, United States officials said. Other finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan.

Just this month, American geologists working with the Pentagon team have been conducting ground surveys on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where they believe there are large deposits of lithium. Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni Province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large of those of Bolivia, which now has the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

For the geologists who are now scouring some of the most remote stretches of Afghanistan to complete the technical studies necessary before the international bidding process is begun, there is a growing sense that they are in the midst of one of the great discoveries of their careers.

“On the ground, it’s very, very, promising,” Mr. Medlin said. “Actually, it’s pretty amazing.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

David Fretigne Signs With BMW

David Fretigne Signs With BMW
Jul 21, 2010

2010 Motorcycle Racing News,  
David Fretigne has ended his long time association with Yamaha to sign with BMW Motorrad. David has decided that it will require a full factory effort to go head to head with the dominate KTM bikes for a Dakar win. He will be developing the new BMW 450GS Rally for the German manufacturer.  

David’s impressive resume of accomplishments include five French Enduro Championships and three International Six Days Enduro Class wins. This is on top of his career of Rally wins and strong Dakar finishes. He is perhaps best remembered for competing on the Olins developed two wheel drive machine based upon the Yamaha WR4540.  

The announcement of a BMW “GS” version of the 450x, comes just ahead of the official introduction of the new Husqvarna 450 “hybrid” enduro bike that will feature the BMW developed motor mated to a Husky chassis. This is expected to also signal the end of the BMW 450 off road models. The question that remains, is if this new GS version will be a derivative of the Husky model or another ground up attempt by BMW to create an off road bike.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TRON: Legacy Trailer


The vicious circle continues

So the cycle continues. Round and round we go, where we'll stop, everyone knows. Financial ruin deja vu. Let's all watch as, for the sake of increasing the all important sales figures, we continue to spin ourselves into financial ruin. VAT tax here we come baby.

GM to buy AmeriCredit to expand subprime lending (AP)

Written on July 22nd, 2010

AP – General Motors Co. will buy AmeriCredit Corp. for $3.5 billion, a deal that allows the automaker to expand loans to customers with poor credit and offer more leases, key areas where GM must grow to accelerate its car sales.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Someone has too much time on their hands....

Chinese artist Shi Jindian doesn't just bend wire for his art, he crochets it into shapes like this Chiangjiang 750 motorcycle with sidecar.

Most Massive Star Discovered—Shatters Record

Astronomers "really taken aback" by stellar behemoth.

Andrew Fazekas
for National Geographic News
Published July 21, 2010

A newfound star has shattered the record as the most massive stellar monster ever seen, astronomers announced today.

Weighing in at a whopping 265 times the mass of our sun, the behemoth may have actually slimmed down since birth, when it likely tipped the scales at 320 times the sun's mass.

The discovery could rewrite the laws of stellar physics, since it's long been thought that stars beyond a certain mass would be too unstable to survive.

"We are really taken aback, because up until now the astronomical community at large has assumed that the upper size limit for stars would be around 150" times the mass of the sun, said study co-author Richard Parker, an astronomer at the University of Sheffield in the U.K.

"This giant could really revolutionize the way we think about how stars form and die in clusters and galaxies."

(Related: "Most Massive Stellar Black Hole Found in Binary System.")

Most Massive Star to Blow Itself Apart?

Parker's team found the stellar monster in images taken with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The star is tucked inside a dense cluster of other hot, young, massive stars in one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Dubbed R136a1, the record-breaking star is so massive that it burns its hydrogen fuel at an unprecedented rate—fast enough that the star is considered middle-aged at about a million years old. By contrast, our sun is about five billion years old and still has another five billion years to go.

"Because there are so very few places where there is enough gas that can collect and form such massive stars, we may very well be seeing the limit of how large a star can get," Parker added.

This stellar surprise, Parker said, might also add to evidence for a rare class of superviolent explosions known as pair-instability supernovae. (See "Biggest Star Explosion Seen; Was Rare, 'Clean' Death.")

The most massive stars are generally thought to die in huge explosions that scatter the stars' outer layers but leave behind dense cores—either neutron stars or black holes.

"This fast-burning stellar giant, however, may be large enough to actually completely blow itself apart in a titanic explosion without leaving behind any corpse whatsoever," the trademark of a pair-instability explosion, Parker said.

"We are fortunate to have caught sight of it when we did."

The supermassive star is described in a paper in the July issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Amid the squallor of Kabul's war-torn streets, girls and boys are finding solace in skateboards. Meet the pupils of Afghanistan's first co-educational skateboarding school in this visually stunning film.

When a group of expatriate aid workers first created Skateistan, they could never have expected it to be as popular and as life-changing as it has proved: "It is solely because of the support of Skateistan that I am alive now", one student states. Amidst the relentless violence of Kabul, Skateistan is open to all, welcoming all nationalities and both genders. Fazilla has her school fees paid for by the school, and while not everyone agrees with girls skateboarding, Fazilla is still determined to do what she enjoys: "I really like skating and I won't stop". The problems facing Afghanistan are daunting but hope, confidence and opportunity can all be found in Skateistan.

Grain Media

Liberia, Things are about to get very hairy!

A history of brutal civil wars, casual cannibalism, and murderous, drug-addled orphans, has rendered Liberia one of the most dangerous countries in the world. This documentary dives into the hornet's nest.

"Most of my boys would drain the blood from an innocent child and drink it before going into battle". These words from ex-General Butt Naked, famed for stripping off before fighting enemies to the death, welcome us to Liberia. It's a country so ravaged by fourteen years of civil war, that death and destruction bursts out of a primary-colour landscape, and wide-eyed 12 year olds proudly hold a human heart up to the camera: "America's one and only foray into colonialism is keeping a very uneasy peace indeed".

West Point is the worst slum in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, and has the smell to prove it. Human excrement is dotted amongst a gigantic rubbish tip, piled high on pure-white sand. What is the government doing? "The commissioner himself sometimes goes to the beach and squats with the people!" What’s more, any commerce that comes is usually a cover-up for heroin dens, and billboards paint a culture of rape in pretty colours. A drugged-up twelve year old evokes the desperate need that drives the population to crime: "break teeth, break nose...what else we going to do for money?”

There's an enthusiasm for battle here, which exceeds a simple history of violence. Young men grow up with a gun in their hands, desensitized to killing, and young women only know of sex as a means of employment or something forced upon them, seventy percent are said to have been raped. In a dingy brothel where the walls are splattered with blood and dirt, one young girl speaks of how the UN peacekeeping force, instead of protecting and ensuring law and order, "have sex with you, throw you off, and then beat you". There seems to be no end to the suffering of the Liberian people.

"When the youth are not satisfied, anything can happen", warns ex-General Rambo. If the UN were to leave, Rambo assures us that the rebels could retake control of Monrovia "within two or three hours". The UN is due to pull out in less than a year, and so the future of Liberia remains uncertain. Will it descend once again into open warfare? Or will the example of Joshua Blahyi, the Christian convert formerly known as Butt Naked, teach others to turn their back on violence?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


While the US is consumed with arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Spain has hopped the fuck off into a ready, willing, and able motor boat and is not looking back. Fucking Spain of all places. So they take the World Cup and what, they're gonna get all uppity now?

Instead of patting the Islamic nations on the ass and whispering sweet nothings in their ear, maybe we should get off the oil nipple, get out of the natural gas fog, get off our collective asses, and start to get on getting on.

You rock USA, no one can scoop this top dog. 

Spain overtakes US with world's biggest solar power station

With the new La Florida plant, the nation's solar power production is now equivalent to output of a nuclear power station

Stephen Burgen in Barcelona, Tuesday 13 July 2010 16.59 BST

A worker makes adjustments before the inauguration ceremony of a solar thermal power plant in Alvarado Spain. The plant is the world's biggest solar power station. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Spain has opened the world's largest solar power station, meaning that it overtakes the US as the biggest solar generator in the world. The nation's total solar power production is now equivalent to the output of a nuclear power station.

Spain is a world leader in renewable energies and has long been a producer of hydro-electricity (only China and the US have built more dams). It also has a highly developed wind power sector which, like solar power, has received generous government subsidies.

The new La Florida solar plant takes Spain's solar output to 432MW, which compares with the US output of 422MW. The plant, at Alvarado, Badajoz, in the west of the country, is a parabolic trough. With this method of collecting solar energy, sunlight is reflected off a parabolic mirror on to a fluid-filled tube. The heated liquid is then used to heat steam to run the turbines. The mirror rotates during the day to follow the sun's movement. The solar farm covers 550,000 square metres (the size of around 77 football pitches) and produces 50MW of power.

Protermosolar, the association that represents the solar energy sector, says that within a year another 600MW will have come on-stream and projects that by 2013 solar capacity will have reached 2,500MW.

The northern, though thinly populated, region of Navarra is already producing 75% of its energy from a range of renewables, including wind, solar, hydro and biomass. Spain's windfarms now produce around 20,000MW of electricity and on one day in November they accounted for 53% of demand. Last year, solar energy met 2.8% of demand out a total of 12.9% for all renewables. In March, the government announced a plan to increase the renewable share to 22.7% by 2020, slightly ahead of EU targets.

With an average of 340 days of sunshine a year in Spain, solar is more reliable than wind, and can go a long way towards weaning the country off gas-fired and ageing nuclear power stations. Spain is now the fourth largest manufacturer of solar power technology in the world and both solar and wind power technology exports have become valuable earners in a country with a weak manufacturing.

Hey tech nerds, take the day off...

Monday, July 12, 2010

View from a Somali photojournalist’s blood-stained lens

View from a Somali photojournalist’s blood-stained lens
By Mariama Keita/Guest Blogger

This photo was taken just before missiles landed on a press conference in Mogadishu on June 29. (Badri Media)
On Tuesday, several journalists were wounded when missiles were fired on a press conference in the battlefield of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. When the National Union of Somali Journalists broke news of the attack, I immediately checked in with local reporters. I obtained the phone number of photojournalist Ilyas Ahmed Abukar, expecting to speak to a frantic or traumatized man, but to my surprise, Abukar was alert, calm, and willing to share his personal account of what transpired. After a short conversation, he pledged to continue answering my questions via e-mail. Here is some of what he told me.

Abukar describes how it was noon on Tuesday when journalists were gathered at the former National Security Agency premises, which hardline Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab captured from the government on Monday. He said the group had called the media there to show off their prize.

“Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud took us to the buildings,” Abukar wrote. “As we were entering the first building, heavy missiles started to fall around us. We all ran inside the buildings to escape the shelling, but before we entered the concrete building, the missiles hit on the top of the door which we wanted to enter and destroyed the door. There are several journalists with small injuries. The two with the heavy injuries are me, Ilyas from Badri Media Productions, and Al-Jazeera cameraman Abdinaser Hared. We have injuries on the heads, necks, and back. But we are not so serious. The other journalists who are injured include Muse Mohamud Jiisow, the editor of Somalisan, Abdirisaq Jama Elmi from Somali TV, Abdinaser Idle from HornAfrik, but I don't remember the others.”

The next sentence left me in disbelief: “Now my problem is that I can't move my left hand, because the fragments of the missile are still in my hand and my head.”

Over the phone, Abukar had classified his injuries as minor, but I wonder if that was the effect of the painkillers he described in the next sentence. “Al-Shabaab’s medical team injected us painkillers and provided bandages to us, so instead of going out we continued to the press conference.” According to Abukar, the journalists were indirectly targeted, saying he believes the government wanted to stop the press conference so the media wouldn't report Al-Shabab's “propaganda of advancing to the presidential palace.”

“There is blood on the lens of my camera,” Abukar said, referring to his Canon 1000D.

He does not wear a bulletproof vest or helmet. “I know it’s very risky,” he wrote. “I like to work the profession of a journalist—to display risk of war, militants, to display everything to the world.” Abukar said he has been covering the war-torn Somali capital since June 2007: “I was a secondary school student, but I got training from the Somali journalist Abukar Albadri, who was forced to leave Mogadishu. He trained us as a team and gave us cameras and told us to do the work he was doing, it was photojournalism, so we established Badri Media Productions and we work there as a team.” He is also a reporter with Somali news website Qalin (Pen).

“To work with a camera in a war zone is like a curse,” he went on. “In the morning when you are leaving the office for assignment or want to cover an ongoing war, you are compromising your life, because you are not sure if you will return alive.”

There are risks everywhere: “Not only bullets and stray missiles,” he wrote. “You are also a potential target for any gunman and all the warring parties that are hostile to the journalists. But when you return to the office safely with the photos it is like winning the World Cup because you are safe and you have the pictures.”

Many Somali journalists have fled into exile, fearing for their lives, but Abukar said he is determined to continue his work. “If we stop doing the job then who is coming to do it?” he asked. “I must work as a photographer as long as I can live and help the world understand the situation of my people.”

Mariama Keita is an intern in CPJ's Africa program.

Why photojournalism still matters

From the Newsroom: Why photojournalism still matters

Related Links
» Article: RT-D photojournalism: By the numbers

Published: July 11, 2010

Imagine looking at your favorite newspaper, magazine, television program, or Internet site without the benefit of visuals.

Ever since Mathew Brady lugged around his entire photographic stu dio to document Civil War events, photojournalism has played an increasingly important role in our daily lives. Digital cameras and smartphones that capture still and video images have added to that importance.

Photography is beauty. Some regard it as art, while others think of it as nothing more than a trade or craft. It comes in various forms -- from the artistry of a colorful sunset, to the graphic depiction of the best and worst of human life, to the revealing features of a well-lit portrait. It's still photos, video, and a combination of the two. Somehow the world would not be the same without it.

Somewhere in the middle is photojournalism, a profession I chose because it combines all of the above. But is photojournalism an endangered profession, and why does it even matter?

In the past five years alone, there has been an explosion of media-sharing sites on the Internet that offer video, inexpensive stock imagery, and the opportunity for anyone with a camera to manipulate content to their advantage.

What you cannot count on is the integrity that goes with every photo.

Photography has the power to shape opinions, expose flaws, and highlight beauty. It also connects us -- to each other and everything else on the planet.

On a daily basis, I am reminded of how it connects a community like ours. As I look over photographs submitted by the

Richmond Times-Dispatch staff or scan the photos distributed by The Associated Press, I see images that capture the humor of everyday life and depict the tragedy as well.

Photographs are not only important for today's paper and website, but they are a connection to our past and the present. They shine light on past decisions and leave a record for those who will follow.

The reality of life is that we don't get to live forever. What remains is our legacy and contribution to future generations. For a photojournalist, that legacy is his or her photographs. I firmly believe my (our) photographs serve a purpose. They connect us to those with whom we have a relationship, no matter how brief, and remind us of the blessings and responsibilities that come with life.

While complementing our print coverage with videos online, we are increasingly using slideshows and galleries to enhance our online presence. The simplicity of a single photograph combined with others offers insight into a subject that can't be accomplished with the moving picture, especially when we include audio with people telling their stories in their own words.

The galleries allow viewers to linger and explore details that can be missed in a video that captures 24 frames-per-second. With a single photograph, the photographer must communicate the same action and emotion in the fraction of a second it takes the shutter to open and close.

There is no modern photojournalism without people. We photograph people because we want to capture the essence of a person in that particular, ever-so-fleeting moment, and share that observation with others. We observe connections between people and share how they play out in life, with the hope that somehow they will make a difference.

That has been evident in some of our key stories. Jimmy Dean's funeral was both a private and public event because of his celebrity. Thanks to a relationship we had with his widow, we were invited to photograph the funeral and interment at his home in Varina. Photojournalist Eva Russo captured the touching moments in a way that I hope brought insight and compassion to the family.

Bob Brown, who has been working at his craft for more than 35 years at The Times-Dispatch, has embarked on a Back Roads adventure with columnist Bill Lohmann to connect readers to people and places around Virginia.

His photos of a Floyd County country store that converts to a music venue at night were so nostalgic in nature, readers responded by calling to let us know they were planning trips around a visit to the store.

Finally, Russo has been photographing the Richmond City Jail off and on since 2006. The stories by reporter David Ress were compelling in themselves, but it was Russo's photos that put a face on what many consider inhumane conditions in the jail. It was shortly after the second part of their series appeared in the newspaper in 2007 that the Richmond City Council voted to approve a new jail.

But proposals for the jail are just now coming in. Russo was back at the jail last week after reports that an inmate had died of heat-related causes. Now the ACLU has asked the Justice Department to investigate conditions at the jail.

Our photojournalists' job is to tell a story with pictures. But perhaps more important, their goal is to convey the truth through the images they capture with the camera. Skilled photojournalists don't just show up at an event and snap a few pictures. Rather, their objective is to highlight important issues. Often, they do so with a single photograph.

As a result, you get dependable, knowledgeable information you can trust. That's why it matters.

A kindler, gentler, more befuddled NASA

I think going to the moon may prove less difficult.

The Political Reality of Transparency

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today in history...

Jul 8, 1776:
Liberty Bell tolls to announce Declaration of Independence
Previous DayJuly 8CalendarNext Day
On this day in 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8. 

In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania's original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament's controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. 

As the British advanced toward Philadelphia in the fall of 1777, the bell was removed from the city and hidden in Allentown to save it from being melted down by the British and used to make cannons. After the British defeat in 1781, the bell was returned to Philadelphia, which served as the nation's capital from 1790 to 1800. In addition to marking important events, the bell tolled annually to celebrate George Washington's birthday on February 22 and Independence Day on July 4. The name "Liberty Bell" was first coined in an 1839 poem in an abolitionist pamphlet. 

The question of when the Liberty Bell acquired its famous fracture has been the subject of a good deal of historical debate. In the most commonly accepted account, the bell suffered a major break while tolling for the funeral of the chief justice of the United States, John Marshall, in 1835, and in 1846 the crack expanded to its present size while in use to mark Washington's birthday. After that date, it was regarded as unsuitable for ringing, but it was still ceremoniously tapped on occasion to commemorate important events. On June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded France, the sound of the bell's dulled ring was broadcast by radio across the United States. 

In 1976, the Liberty Bell was moved to a new pavilion about 100 yards from Independence Hall in preparation for America's bicentennial celebrations. It remains there today and is visited by more than 1 million people each year.

Immigration Paranoia Policy?

A not so absurd depiction?

School Project - Journey Redux

Some kids from a local Philly school do a great job remaking 80's cheese for a school project. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finally, that internet thing fad is over...

At least the artist now known as Prince who was formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince who was simply known as Prince says so.

Restrepo. Like the Hurt Locker except only real?

Who's to say, but it looks interesting. I've enjoyed some other work from Sebastian Junger. The images from that 1999 National Geographic Explorer episode with Him and Reza ducking incoming Taliban rockets will remain burned in my mind.

It's playing around. Go see it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gotta love the Red Bull Romaniacs. The 2010 edition just wrapped up this weekend. Kiwi Chris Birch rode to his first Romaniacs victory aboard a factory KTM. Nice mix of bikes though, KTM, Sherco, and BMW take the top three pro spots.

Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Old but always worth a spot in the shuffle.

On and on and on and on, I won't stop y'all

If you could, would you live 100, 500, 1000 years? Forever? A lot of talk about genetics and longevity these days. I think I'd take the chance. 1000 years sounds great depending on how the aging process could be controlled... late and a dollar short.