Saturday, January 20, 2007

A JeromeProphet Pick - Stupid Video of the Week


Punchy - But Not Drunk

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Video Find of the Week


I like this video!

Perhaps it's just the Chardonnay Sauvignon, but I like it a lot. In fact I'm going to have to crack open another bottle of vino just to test my hypothesis that it's the wine.
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Hypothesis

There will be a strong positive correlative relationship between amount of wine consumed, and the rating of the featured video.
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Confounding Variables
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Cheese, Crackers, and sheer fatigue.
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Friday, January 19, 2007

Star Trek XI Due For Release In 2008


StarTrek 2008 Poster


Just about the only glimpse so far into what the coming Star Trek movie will look like is this poster available at StarTrek.com. Rumors are bouncing around that the movie's plot may, or may not revolve around the early days of Kirk, and Spock, think Starfleet Academy. This has been denied, but not convincingly.

No title has been assigned yet, and so the movie is simply being referred to at this point as StarTrek XI.

Here is a link to Empire.com's StarTrek message board where much fan speculation abounds about possible story lines for the new movie.

It's a real secretive operation right now with only a few names having been released. The name of the director, and writers are known. The same crew that brought us Mission Impossible Three have been charged with the responsibility to bring the eleventh Star Trek movie into existence.
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Time (c) Star Trek XI Producer & Director JJ Abrams
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At this point there is little to go on, but I'm hoping for something different, and yet familiar.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My Tiger Sleeps Warmly on a Cold Winter's Eve


Priskers My Cat Sleeps Warmly On A Cold Winter's Eve


Sometimes when I look at my cats I know I would be happy being a house cat. All that sleep! Never having to worry about anything. No work. No bills! No deep questions about meaning. They have it made!

Notice I said I wouldn't mind being a house cat, because I would not want to be a cat living outdoors right now with the frigid temperatures, rain, snow, and ice. Anyone who leaves their cats outside in the Midwest at this time of year should be neutered.

I took the photograph (above) of Priskers my cat. She was in a little comforter rolled up, and sleeping. She had made herself comfortable all by herself. It was fifteen degrees outside, and I realized how lucky we all are for having a warm, and comfortable place to stay on a night so cold.

There a hundreds of thousands of homeless people living in the United States who don't have it as well off as Priskers, and that's a pretty sad fact. Some of those homeless people are camped outside of Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois freezing in the cold as I write this.

In addition to the homeless people making due anyway they can there are hundreds of thousands of discarded pets trying to survive tonight too.
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A society must judge itself not on how it treats those with wealth, power and fame, but in how it treats those at the lowest station in life. Future generations must surely look back upon this America and wonder how it is that we could have lived with ourselves knowing how others suffer.
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Associated Links

Ten Year Strategic Plan to End Homelessness in Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois' No Kill Animal Shelter - The APL
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ESPN Champs Bowl Half Time Coverage Disappointing


ESPN(C-2006) Bands Take the Field During Champs Bowl Half Time in Orlando, Florida*

After several weeks I still can not understand why ESPN only aired about twenty seconds of the 2006 Champs Bowl half time field presentation. Somewhere down on that football field (see photo above) is my daughter, and I like thousands of viewers across the country tuned in just to see the bands play at half time. I am highly disappointed with ESPN's approach toward broadcasting the various bowl games. ESPN all but ignores the half time stadium entertainment in favor of talking heads.

Sending my daughter to Orlando for Christmas break cost the family around a thousand dollars. She had a great time at Universal City, but the Champs Bowl was our big chance to see our daughter on national television (albeit cable). We watched the entire broadcast, and enjoyed the game, but in all honesty I watched it for one reason - for the small possibility of seeing our daughter, or perhaps one of her band mates down on the field.

She sent back several photos, and videos which she captured with her cell phone, but I was hoping that ESPN would air a few minutes of the hundreds of band members playing at half time. The bands were representing high schools from around the nation. The event was a "big deal" to the kids, the schools, the parents, and relatives, and friends who tuned into ESPN just to catch a glimpse. I'm guessing tens of thousands of viewers were watching just for that reason alone.

Instead of giving any airtime to the bands what ESPN telecast were talking heads. ESPN seems committed to a tired 1970's format on half time telecasting. The cameras in the studio gave us exciting high definition color of the sportscasters good looking faces. When that wasn't enough there was the prerecorded snippets of games, and news about golf. I kept waiting for the video portion of telecast to switch over for a few shots of the bands, but it never happened until the final remaining seconds of half time.

My guess is that ESPN would rather see their own talking heads on the screen than anything else. Things need to change at ESPN. We are after all living in the age of broadband.

My belief is that with broadband at the price it is at, and constantly falling, that it would be easy to sell live feeds right off the ESPN nodes at the stadium so that viewers could pick, and choose which cameras they wanted to watch real time, and right over the Internet.

The cost to ESPN would be minimal, and they could could sell advertising on the ESPN website to finance the whole operation. Who wouldn't want to virtually look into the stands to see family members, watch the band, or other half time presentations, visit the locker rooms to listen to the coaches speak, or even a show up at a tail gate party? So many games begin to drag on, or become lopsided that it seems only sensible to give fans alternative means of maintaining interest. ESPN needs to look toward the future of stadium entertainment instead of holding onto the past. Fans need to be offered a more holistic experience of the sporting event in this Internet age.

The types of changes I believe must take place might not sit too well with the talking heads at ESPN, but it will offer ESPN, and other sports broadcasters new ways of generating, and maintaining interest in the events they telecast, and in so doing will generate additional revenue for ESPN.

The Photo above is a copyrighted image of an ESPN broadcast which I screen captured. Several of the grainy blips are presumably of South East Springfield High School Band Members.

*ESPN Image used through Free Use exception as part of a critique of the ESPN production.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rosalind Franklin - Revealed DNA's Structure


Rosalind Franklin - Photographed DNA's Structure

"Who was Rosalind Franklin? The snippy, standoffish, supporting player? The brilliant, wronged woman? Or somebody else entirely? There are deeper mysteries in life than DNA, and some of them may never be solved". - Lev Grossman -

Rosalind Franklin discovered the existence of the A and B forms of DNA. Through her ingenious and meticulous use of X-ray crystallography she managed what no one else had done before, to produce clear x-ray diffraction patterns of DNA.
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Nobel Foundation (C) Crick, Watson, & Wilkins
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Rosalind Franklin's work was pivotal in the development of an understanding of how DNA works. Ms. Franklin died never knowing that the results of her work had been "informally communicated" to James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1962) "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".

Rosalind Franklin died of Cancer in 1958 at the age of 37, possibly as a result of exposure to the X-rays she used in her research.

While Watson, Crick, and Wilson later credited Ms. Franklin's contributions as pivotal to the development of an accurate model of DNA, Ms. Franklin was never nominated or awarded the Nobel Prize as she had already succumbed from cancer. Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously.

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Rosalind Franklin's Photograph 51*

What role sexism played in her research materials being passed to other researchers without her knowledge is a matter of debate. It is known that her relationship with King's College, where she conducted her research, was considerably strained, and that this religious institution didn't even allow Ms. Franklin to eat in the same room as her male colleagues.

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Additional Reading

An article appearing on the New Humanist Website provides insight into Rosalind Franklin's struggle with her father, and with organized religion.

An excellent program which featured the Rosalind Franklin story appeared on PBS.

An article on BBC's website written by Rosalind Franklin's nephew appears here..
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The wikipedia article on Rosalind Franklin.
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Copyrighted Materials Used
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  • Photograph of Crick, Watson, and Wilkins used via Free Use. Copyright retained by the Nobel Foundation.
  • Lev Grossman Quote is from Time Magazine.
  • I created the Photograph 51 Slide Show using images from PBS. For a description by Lexi Krock of the importance of the photograph, and how to interpret the slides, go here.
  • General information adapted for this post were taken from several of the links provided above.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Horace Mann & Abraham Lincoln - The Connection


Craig Nall Holds Lincoln


Craig Nall, a Horace Mann Companies' employee, and an ALPLM volunteer, while reading David Herbert Donald's biography Lincoln, discovered a reference to an 1849 meeting between Lincoln, and Horace Mann.
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The Proposal

Lincoln, who at the time was a freshman member of Congress from Springfield, Illinois went to Horace Mann for assistance in drafting a proposal to end slavery in the nation's capitol. The plan entailed forcing slave owners in Washington D.C. to sell their slaves to the federal government which would then set the slaves free.

Both men were members of the Whig party. Horace Mann was filling in as a member of Congress for the recently deceased John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts. Horace Mann was a well known figure, and founder of the public education system.

Their proposal to free the slaves of Washington D.C. failed.

No one whom I have talked with about the Abraham Lincoln & Horace Mann connection had ever heard of it before. Having the Horace Mann Companies' Home Office, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, situated directly across the street from each other is quite ironic.
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An Age Without Heroes

There certainly are quotes from each of these gentleman, which we would consider to be racist today. Neither man started out believing that all men were created equal despite their deepest held beliefs in the Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution. It was a time of learning for both men, and the country as a whole.

What is important to remember at this point in history is that both men experienced considerable growth on the subject of race, and risked their own political careers, and their very lives in opposing slavery. It's easy today to cast judgment on historical figures as being undeserving of our respect, and admiration, and for being less than what we would demand them to be today.

Despite their imperfections these men, and others like them, were remarkable for what they accomplished in furthering the creation of a more just society. For their bravery, commitment to higher ideals, and their sacrifices, they deserve to be honored today, and in all times.
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The Quote

"It was something to me at that time to have him so-for he was a distinguished man in his way and I was nobody" - Abe Lincoln -
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About The Photo

The photo was taken from the Northeast corner of Horace Mann Plaza on a beautiful early November day. Behind Craig Nall we see a portion of the east side of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

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