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July 27 2015 | Science | 0 comments
Don't Pack Your Bags Yet
photo: Richard Harris


"...First, from non-specialized radio speakers, I heard (twice) a sentence running as: "We have admired the beautiful pictures of the new planet," and I immediately realized how deceiving astronomical concepts are when their divulgation passes a number of times from one description to the following one. All the official public outreach sites I checked on the net (e.g. the NASA page, the Kepler mission Facebook page) make clear that the nice images illustrating the comparison between the Earth and the "cousin" Kepler 452b are plain "artist's conceptions" or "artistic views" of the planet, and not photos of any kind. Kepler 452b in fact is 1400 light years away!

A bit later on, I discovered that even a non-naif good friend of mine had fully conceived the idea that a space probe had reached the far-away solar system (and taken the images)! (Note to author: if you are going to use the word "naïf" rather than "naive" you need the two dots over the i).

She had not counted the time span necessary to do such a mission. Even disregarding the enormous energy necessary to power such space probe, and letting it travel at the velocity of the light (impossible claim), the probe would have taken 1400 years to arrive close to the planet and take the "beautiful pictures," and further 1400 years to send them back. So the mission should have begun with a launch 2800 years ago.

What was happening during the 9th century BC? Only Egyptians, Assyrians and Chinese people were civilized. Well, we can build fantasy tales about pyramids being launching pads for space probes... Let me stop here..."



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July 26 2015 | Politics | 0 comments
Nüber
photo: Richard Harris


"...Yesterday, Uber added an attack ad against the City's mayor Bill De Blasio on the front page of its hailing app, melding its attempt to control local taxi service with seeking control of local politics. In doing so, it highlights the danger of letting multi-billion dollar global corporations control any part of local transit or other infrastructure, since it gives them a stake in distorting local politics as well.

Uber may be a young company but they have entered old-style politics with a vengeance, hiring David Plouffe, the former strategist for President Obama's 2008 election campaign to help direct a team of 250 lobbyists operating in at least 50 cities and states around the country. On top of vast financial resources for traditional lobbying, they control an equally important resource - data and communication with voters throughout local constituencies. In local political fights, Uber has used email and its app real estate to launch multiple attacks on political opponents.

The fight over Uber is not about who runs local taxis, but really about who will control local transit and related infrastructure in the future..."


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July 26 2015 | Art - Brussels | 0 comments
Kosmopolite Tour - Atelier Work 1
photo: Richard Harris

Concurrently with the street art that was produced during the Kosmopolite Art Tour along the canal (see Kosmopolite Art Tour) there was also a show in an event space nearby in Molenbeek. the show was work by the same artists who did the canal outdoor murals but it consisted of studio work. the show was put on to show that these street artists are also becoming studio artists. It's interesting to see the evolution of these artists and also the way that they are being influenced by various orthodox art movements. I thought that the quality of the work was consistently high.

www.kosmopolite.com
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July 26 2015 | Art - Brussels | 0 comments
Kosmopolite Tour - Atelier Work 2
photo: Richard Harris
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July 26 2015 | Art - Brussels | 0 comments
Kosmopolite Tour - Atelier Work 3
photo: Richard Harris
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