November 24, 2013 |
Pennsylvania State University is racing to be the first college on the moon. Since 2011, a team of faculty, researchers, and students has been hatching "Lunar Lion," a robotic spacecraft that is four feet in diameter and weighs 500 pounds. The team hopes that by landing in December 2015 and completing a precise series of tasks, it will win an international competition known as the Google Lunar Xprize. "What we are doing was once the business of national governments, and now we, a university, are doing this," said Michael Paul, director of space systems initiatives at the university's Applied Research Lab. The project costs $60 million, and donors have provided more than one-third of that amount.
November 16, 2013 |
Andy Kaufman is alive! Oh, give us a break! There's a lot of chatter suggesting that controversial Saturday Night Live comic and Taxi star Andy Kaufman , who died of cancer in 1984 at 35, faked his death and is living incognito. Things broke weird this week when Andy's brother Michael announced at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York that he found an essay among Andy's things detailing how he'd fake his death and run away with the love of his life. According to the Huffington Post, Michael claims he got a letter from his brother in 1999 in which the comic admitted he ran away so he could live with his new wife - and their daughter - in obscurity.
October 11, 2013
ALL Ralph, no Alice. That's been the problem the past couple of decades with our "Honeymooners" economy, except that no one who wants a good job thinks it's funny. "The Honeymooners," for you kids out there, is a classic TV show whose characters formed the basis for the modern sitcom: Ralph Kramden, the husband who always had a dubious get-rich-quick scheme in the works, and Alice Kramden, the wife who always said no. In this, the show was on firm anthropological ground. Studies consistently show that women are better investors than men. They favor slow-and-steady growth, while men - entranced by the lure of speculative profits - ignore catastrophic risk.
July 15, 2013 |
When I first stepped into "The 1968 Exhibit" at the National Constitution Center, I felt the same sense of dread I experienced the first time I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. "This is gonna hurt," I thought. And it did. In both cases, the feeling was triggered by a sound. In Washington it was the "chi-chi-chi" of the automatic sprinklers that reminded me of the helicopters we heard every night on the evening news coverage of the war in Vietnam. This exhibit greets you with a recording of the low-throated chop of a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter.
June 16, 2013
In Beauty Bright By Gerald Stern W.W. Norton. 125 pp. $25.95 Stealing History By Gerald Stern Trinity University Press. 306 pp. $17.94 Reviewed by Frank Wilson Gerald Stern is one of those writers whose style insinuates itself into your consciousness like a catchy tune, so that you find your thoughts echoing its rhythms, bopping from one to another, back and forth, like thought and language doing a jitterbug. Here he is, in Stealing History , telling about "a ghostly experience" he once had: . . . when it happened I would have described it as a kind of dizziness, of being filled with deep pleasantness, a pleasure in which I was overcome and held onto the brick wall of a building beside me. I seem to remember I was always going slightly downhill, and it was my right hand I held against the wall - and it lasted for maybe ten, fifteen seconds - I think longer - and it was delicious, and there was absolutely no fear in it, and I walked normally and happily immediately after, and I never much thought about it and never told anyone about it. More laid back and (seemingly)
June 2, 2013
New Recordings Ratings: **** Excellent, *** Good, ** Fair, * Poor Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle (Ribbon Music ***1/2) Laura Marling already sounded like an old soul when she released her haunting debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim , in 2008, when she was 18. On her fourth album, the 23-year-old British songwriter (and former Marcus Mumford dater) sets herself even further apart from her peers with a pretty-much- peerless collection of folk songs.
May 22, 2013 |
BEHIND HIM were many years of often brutally hard work, sometimes from dawn to dark; a family of eight children, some of whom became sports stars; service in the Army; many friends; and the acclaim and popularity of a friendly, jovial Irishman. Joseph "Moon" Conlin sat down in a grandstand in Schwenksville on Saturday morning to do what he loved most in recent years, watch a grandson play Little League baseball. In the bottom of the first inning, he fell over in his seat. A coach tried CPR. Joseph Conlin was rushed to Pottstown Memorial Hospital, but he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 79. When he ran his own tire-repair business, servicing customers from his truck, starting at dawn and not getting home until dark, Joseph would sometimes fall asleep while eating dinner.
May 20, 2013 |
IRVING, Texas - Sang-Moon Bae won the Bryon Nelson Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, beating Keegan Bradley by 2 strokes after blowing a 4-stroke lead. The 26-year-old South Korean closed with a 1-under 69 to finish at 13-under 267. Bradley was trying to become the Nelson's first wire-to-wire winner since Tom Watson in 1980. Bradley set the TPC Four Seasons course record with an opening 60 even with two bogeys, but finished with a 72 on a day with wind gusting near 40 m.p.h.
April 17, 2013 |
Having performed John Cage's supremely spare (and deeply economical) 4'33" of silence earlier this season, Orchestra 2001 was living particularly large in its contribution to the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts with a 40-member group performing Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) . The time-travel-themed PIFA landmarks for Saturday's program at Church of the Holy Trinity were the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the 1969 Apollo moon landing, commemorated by George Crumb's Night of the Four Moons . Crumb is a natural choice, given Swarthmore-based 2001's longtime association with the Media composer.
April 1, 2013 |
Carleen Hamilton wrote the first poem on a napkin, sitting in a coffee shop in Bermuda, on their honeymoon, Oct. 29, 1974. Oh, how I glowe and grew to inconceivable brilliance in his loving fire. And we were called Sun and Moon. Complete life. Virtually every workday for the next 29 years, she wrote a poem on a napkin and packed it in her husband's lunch. And George Hamilton, director of the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, inspired by his new wife, her poetry, her devotion, and his own happiness, returned the kindness.