Native American Documentary: Forgotten

12 Dec

About a week ago I said I had just finished a documentary on Native American Stereotypes. Well I now have that ready for your viewing pleasure.

The total run time is only about 8 minutes, so please take a gander if you so please.

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Dark Knight Rises Prolouge

12 Dec

Are you tired of waiting for the much anticipated 3rd and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise? Well unfortunately I don’t have a secret copy of the film to give you, but I have the next best thing.

On December 16 The ‘Dark Knight Rises’ prolouge will be shown preluding ‘Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol’. Those who buy tickets will be treated to the first 7 minutes of the the new Batman film.

Back in 2008 Nolan released a similar prolouge for the ‘Dark Knight’ before ‘I AM LEGEND’. The prolouge introduced the villan Joker. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will accomplish the same goal of introducing the main villan of this final installment, which is Bane.

BANE

Furthermore the first theatrical trailer for the Dark Knight Rises will premiere before ‘Sherlock Holmes’, which comes out later this month.

The Dark Knight Rises comes out July 22, 2012.

Bonnie Prudden Dies at age 98.

12 Dec

“You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.” – Bonnie Prudden

Bonnie Prudden’s clock has run out. The elite rock climber turned fitness pioneer died today in Tucson, AZ at age 98. She will always be remembered for her achievements in the world of fitness. She will be missed.

 

Mozart’s Sister

11 Dec

To be honest I didn’t know Mozart had a sister until I saw the trailer to ‘Mozart’s Sister’. I guess this is no surprise, because from the looks of it she was always in the shadow of her brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Apparently though she was perhaps just as talented as her brother and wanted to compose just as he did. The only problem is that during that time women were not accepted in that role. She was to get married like all girls her age.

I want to see ‘Mozarts Sister’  to learn about another Mozart that never had the chance to be a part of our classical music history because of her sex.

Analysis of the gods of Iliad

11 Dec

The god’s are an undeniable presence in the story of the Iliad and other than Achilles they just might be the most important aspect of the entire story.  The will of the Gods plays a large role in the events of this epic, and the Gods themselves form an intriguing sub story. Concepts of gods then and now vary drastically but also have some strange similarites.

Let us begin with the ways in which the God’s directly affect warfare in the Iliad.  We see this done in several different ways.  The first way that comes to mind is the God’s desire to rescue certain individuals throughout the story.  One instance of this is when Menelaus and Paris are battling to end the war and determine who will finally take Helen home for good. So the two of them battle to what is supposed to be the death, and as we see in the story Menelaus is just about to kill Paris when out of nowhere the god Aprhodite sweeps up Paris and rescues him to safety (book 3 lines 430 and following).  This, tends to be a common event in the Iliad. On several other occasions many of the other god’s come to the recue of certain soldiers. The motives of the God’s tend to be petty things, such as, how much a specific soldier sacrificed to the god’s. Other times it was solely based on relationships between the god’s and the particular individual in the battle.  While this is one of the main ways we see the God’s interfering in warfare, it is not the only way.  They also play a crucial role in the moral of the soldiers.  We see this several times throughout the book.  A great example of this is when Posiedon the God of the Sea, comes to the aid of the Achaens, while they are being pushed against their boats and losing confidence quickly.  Posiedon urges them on, specifically we see him give renewed power to the Ajax brothers who use this to lead their comrades into battle again and hold off the Trojans a little longer (book 13 lines 56-73). This is a crucial moment in the battle because the Trojans were preparing to burn the Achaens entire fleet of ships.  The last role, that the god’s play in the war, is the role of prophets. Throughout the book, the god’s talk to many soldiers about their fate, specifically when they will die or who they are suppose to kill. This idea comes up most often with the hero of the story Achilles whose fate is ultimately the driving point of the entire story.  Achilles knows that he will die because the god’s have told him this, but he also knows that he will win glory on the battlefield.

The concerns of the god’s, involved in many of the human interactions in the Iliad often seem very childish.  Often times they are doing something because of  sacrifices paid to them or because of blood lines.  Zeus seems to be by far the most important god.

He is often, referred to by most all other god’s and humans as the ‘Father’.  It is Zeus’ will that usually determines battlefield glory.  In the case of the story of the Iliad, Zeus’ one goal is to bring ultimate glory to Achilles.  This was the request of Achilles’ mother Thetis as she begged to Zeus to give him glory against the Trojans for the hardships that Agamemnon caused him.  It is Agamemnon who takes Achilles women Briseis and thus causes Achilles rage that becomes the focal point of the story.

As a result of Thetis request, Zeus gives great glory to the Trojans until Agamemnon and the rest of the Achaens  are out of luck and sorely miss their great hero Achilles. In doing this Achilles is given all the glory and proven to be the better man. Overall the most important of the god’s in this story tend to be Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite and Posiedon. We see other god’s as well but never as often as these few. An interesting difference between modern gods and the god’s of Ancient Greeks is that we only have one God essentially, which is quite different from Greek mythology where they have several. Another bizarre difference is that the god’s actually fight, this a concept that is beyond our culture.  Our ideal example of a god is one that relies more on pacifism and wisdom and tends to remain stationery.  We also see certain god’s favor certain sides. Specifically Zeus, Apollo, Ares and Aphrodite tend to lean towards the Trojan side, while Athena, Posiedon, and Hera are in favor of the Achaens.

This is bizarre and similarly common to our beliefs today in modern warfare that our God is on our side. During the bush Administration there was a strong, feeling of destiny from many Americans and the assumption was that we were acting under the divine right of God when we went to war with Iraq. The signature phrase of that war became “God Bless America”.  This mirrors closely the idea that many of the soldiers in the Iliad had going into battle knowing that father Zeus was on their side. On this note, it is rare that you could find any real evidence of our God helping us out in any real battle situation, but during the times of the Ancient Greeks you had a true sense that many outcomes in battle were the direct results of divine intervention. Our God would never be seen fighting in war or for that matter on a battlefield, but the Ancient Greeks’ gods are frequently seen getting into the mix. This is one of the drastic differences between gods in war then and now.  The last thing I noticed is that even the Ancient Greek gods as powerful as they are follow some sort of pre-determined destiny. This is different from our God because many believe that our god has the ability to change the fates of its’ followers.

The Iliad is a book where the god’s are clearly a focal point to the book. Without their presence the Iliad would lose much of its enjoyment. The god’s play a role as an interesting side story and sometimes a comedic side story as they have many petty arguments and fights. There is no doubt though that the Ancient Greeks truly believed that these god’s would decide their glory and honor, which is in some ways very much the same ideas and beliefs we have today. It is truly amazing to see how some concepts over time fail to change.

Interesting Science Article

11 Dec

More Reflective Crops May Have Cooling Effect

I read this article in the New York TImes the other day. It has very interesting take on solving global climate change. Part of our daily entertainment involves going outside and enjoying the weather and if it gets to the point where its always unbearable outside, then we will all become sad and depressed. Here is summary of the article. 

 

Solutions to the on going problem of global climate changes are prevalent, but a feasible means to accomplish such solutions are far less attainable. These solutions involve global scale geoengineering projects such as building a massive sunshade in space or seeding space with sulfate particles. These options would involve the coroperation of several countries, which would likely be challenging to accomplish.

Fortunately Andy Ridgwell and his colleagues at the University of Bristol in England feel they have a feasible solution that would not cost a fortune nor would it be disputed. Instead of creating an infrastructure to help cool the planet, they propose using agriculture.

According to their research planting crop varieties that reflect more light could result in summertime cooling of about 2 degrees. This is a very significant decrease overall.

Dr. Ridgwell realizes that this will not solve the whole climate crisis but he feels that it is a cheap and effective way to combat certain aspects of the problem.

The globalization of the NBA

11 Dec

The 2002 NBA draft proved to be historical in the context of the global game for 2 reasons.  First when the Houston Rockets drafted China native Yao Ming as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft it confirmed many peoples’ belief that globalization was the future of the NBA and with the selection of Ming it had finally arrived.

Second as a result of Yao Ming’s prominent selection in the 2002 NBA draft, China became a focal point in the globalization of basketball.  For the first time a Chinese star was in the spotlight of the NBA and as a result Yao Ming simultaneously became a world-renowned celebrity and the new face of the NBA and globalization. As a result Chinese interest in basketball reached an all time high and so a new market was born for the NBA. While Yao Ming wasn’t the first international player to step foot on a NBA court, he definitely was the biggest international player ever, quite literally and figuratively because he opened up a new market like no players had ever before. Yet many players preceded and followed him in his journey to the point where the NBA has now official become a global game.

Yao Ming

During the mid 2000s the San Antonio Spurs won 3 NBA finals in a 5 year span. In the process they established themselves as a formidable Dynasty and one of the best franchises in the history of the league. The dynamic aspect of their dynasty run during the early 2000s was their international core of players that led them to success. In Tony Parker of France, Manu Ginobili of Argentina and Tim Duncan of The Virgin Islands the San Antonio Spurs had perhaps the most formidable and recognizable trio of international players ever assembled on one roster. It signified that the spurs were a team already knee deep in the new era of globalization.  According to interbasket.net the San Antonio Spurs rank 2nd only behind the Golden State Warriors in percentage of international players on their rosters looking at numbers over a five year period an NBA team has on average 89 roster spots available.

tony parker

In the case of the Spurs those 89 spots included 26 reserved for  international born players, or just a little over 29% of their roster. Slowly other teams have recognized the success of international stars in the NBA and have followed suit in acquiring international talent.

As a result of the ever expanding globalization of basketball, the NBA has solidified its spot as the second most popular sport in the world only second to soccer. World  viewership is at an all-time high with over 1 billion viewers. This is a staggering number considering that basketball is a relatively young sport in comparison to other long established sports. With demand for basketball at an all time high, NBA commissioner David Stern has begun working to potentially expand his league overseas. His hope is to establish a European Division within the NBA, that would make international competition a formality of the league. The hope would be to build NBA arenas in London, Paris, Athens, Rome, Berlin, Madrid or Barcelona and from there establish a new division, while reshaping the structure of current divisions in the United States. Should the NBA succeed in this ambitious endeavour, they will set a new precedent in sports as the first truly intercontinental sports league. Of course this is still a concept that is far from realization and it will take a lot negotiating between European coordinators and players to make this work.  However do not be surprised if in 10-20 years the NBA established themselves overseas.

If Europe works out then China could soon follow as the demand for NBA has been growing exponentially every year since Yao Ming’s arrival in 2002.  Bleacherreport.com reported that 53% of all traffic on NBA.com comes from international fans and a staggering 20% of that came from China alone so clearly the NBA has a future in China and many other places around the world.