Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Week’s End: Arendt to Louisiana; China to Clam Rolls; Books and Flicks

Long-time residents of Delacroix say the wetlands that sustained them began falling apart when the oil and gas industries began dredging canals in the 1930s. When the wells ran dry, many oil companies moved on and left behind rusting relics like this one near Lost Lake. Photo by Edmund D. Fountain/ProPublica/The Lens

Read about The Drowning of the ‘Amazon of North America,’ in Magazine.  Photo by Edmund D. Fountain/ProPublica/The Lens

It’s the Labour Day weekend in parts of the world: a time for a break, to advocate for Workers, even to consider “labour.”

The philosopher Hannah Arendt had interesting ideas about labour: she insisted on a distinction between “labour” and “work:” She wrote quite a lot about this in her opus The Human Condition but, in short, defined Labour as providing for basic needs, and Work as creating durable things.

Labour may be seen as enslavement to biological processes: to labour is to be seen as an “animal laboran,” wrote Arendt. After they’re consumed the products of labour vanish and so, since Antiquity, labourers have been held in contempt by most Western thinkers. (No “be here now,” or “life is a journey” for them.)

To Work, on the other hand, is to fabricate things: “objects for use (that) posssess the durability (John) Locke needed for the establishment of property,the “value” Adam Smith needed for the exchange market, and they bear testimony to productivity, which (Karl) Marx believed to be the test of human nature.”1

Arendt, who identified enormous value in both labour and work, seemed to find it bizarre that people do not distinguish between the labour of the body and the work of the hands — between “animal laborans” and “homo faber.” She pondered how some thinkers, notably Marx and Smith, turned instead to a (simplistic) distinction between productive and unproductive work. If Arendt were still with us, I wonder if she’d link many of our world’s problems to our failure to think about, let alone to understand, the essence of our labours.

Moving on, here, for your Labour Day weekend, is a stellar lineup of new Work on F&O:

In our Magazine section: The Drowning of the ‘Amazon of North America’Southeast Louisiana hosts half of America’s oil refineries; pipelines that serve 90 percent of that nation’s offshore energy production and 30 percent of its total oil and gas supply; a vital port; and 2 million people. And, at a rate of a football field every hour, Southeast Louisiana is drowning.

In Commentary: China accepts tribute from its vassal, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe: The air in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People was heavy with the pungent smell of irony this week …  
Asks Chris Wood in Clam Rolls: Ever had a clam roll?  …  Enjoy one, if you get the chance, because the lowly clam is the latest canary to show signs of expiring in our climate mine. There is hope though …

 In Arts: Brian Brennan’s new Brief Encounters column looks at Choreographer to the Stars: Norman Maen. You’ll find short reviews of the summer flick The Hundred-Foot Journey and the book Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey; a fun romp of a piece about 
the Guardians of the Galaxy mixtapesand a poignant little essay: Richard Attenborough touched my life.

Ignore the IQ Test, advises a piece in Expert Witness, and in Dispatches you might check out a science story about The microbiome you (and your pets) share.

You’ll find lots of great free stories inside our site, while much of our original work is behind a paywall — we do not sell advertising. We do need and appreciate your support (a monthly subscription costs less than a cup of coffee), but if you’d like to give us a try before throwing pennies our way, drop me a note at Editor@factsandopinions.com, and I will email you a complimentary day pass. 

Have a great weekend.

— Deborah Jones

 Notes and further reading:

1. The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt, especially the chapters Labor and Work. 
The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College http://www.bard.edu/hannaharendtcenter/

 

Artist concept of the Space Launch System, designed to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars. The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the rocket would move into the development phase. It will be NASA’S first exploration class vehicle to be developed since the space shuttle. Image: NASA

Artist concept of the Space Launch System, designed to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars. The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the rocket would move into the development phase. It will be NASA’S first exploration class vehicle to be developed since the space shuttle. Image: NASA

Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate, and rely on, your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right of this page (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Clam Rolls, Ocean Acidification — and Solutions

© Deborah Jones 2014

© Deborah Jones 2014

Oddly, the new column by Natural Security columnist Chris Wood brought to my mind a sign outside a university chemistry lab when, a lifetime ago, I was studying biology. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate,” it quipped. It’s a bit of goofy scientist humour — but reading Wood’s piece, I thought, he is part of the solution — because he clearly lays out the problems we face, and presents the solutions needed. The problems of preserving a livable earth are not trivial — but they are, in theory, solvable ones, argues Wood. An excerpt of his new column, Clam rolls:

 

© Bryan Bruchman

© Bryan Bruchman

Ever had a clam roll? I know, sounds like a straight line. But in the Canadian Maritimes a clam roll is a load of breaded, deep-fried clams in a hot-dog bun, usually with shredded lettuce and mayonnaise. Enjoy one, if you get the chance, because the lowly clam is the latest canary to show signs of expiring in our climate mine.

The excess carbon dioxide humanity is releasing into the atmosphere doesn’t all stay there. A great deal gets absorbed into the oceans, where it is making them observably more acidic. That is bad for all shellfish: acidy water corrodes their calcium carbonate shells (also a reason to enjoy oysters while you still can.) But biologists have now discovered that clams, which typically burrow into the mud at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy for protection from predators, are avoiding doing so — evidently sensing that the seafloor’s more acid condition will dissolve their shells. This dilemma — be eaten or dissolved by acid — helps explain a decline in clam populations.

At the other end of the scale, consider a document leaked from the United Nations’ Environment Program — the organization that produces those once-every-five-years global compendia of climate science — in the last few days. It confirms that the clams’ dilemma is being replicated around our planet, that we humans stand to lose much more than our regional cuisine, and that the singular reason for all of this is one we are well aware of: carbon. … log in first (subscription required*) and click here to read Clam Rolls.

Click here for Chris Wood’s columnist page here is F&O’s page to subscribe or purchase a $1 site day pass

 

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work.

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Norman Maen: from Ireland to Swine Lake with Muppets

Norman Maen had many challenges as a professional choreographer working on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1970s. But as Arts columnist Brian Brennan reports in his new time capsule piece, none was more demanding than Maen’s assignment to devise a routine for Rudolph Nureyev and Miss Piggy on The Muppet Show. An excerpt of Brennan’s Brief Encounters column, Choreographer to the Stars: Norman Maen:

344px-Nureyev_10_Allan_Warren

Rudolph Nureyev, sans Miss Piggy. Photo by Allan Warren, Creative Commons

I had two questions for choreographer Norman Maen:

1. How did he choreograph an ice show for Olympic skating champion John Curry when Maen didn’t skate?

2. What was it like working with Rudolf Nureyev on The Muppet Show?

His answer to the first question was straightforward enough, if a little indecorous. “Wettest ass on the rink, dear,” said Maen. “I’m out there in me crepe soles, bringing everyone down around me, waltzing around, falling a lot, and that’s the way I choreographed it.”

The New York Times dance critic, Anna Kisselgoff, clearly thought Maen did a good job. When the Curry show opened at New York’s Felt Forum in December 1978, Kisselgoff wrote that Maen’s choreography for Curry’s signature piece, Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, was a highlight of the show. Maen had given Curry’s skating movements the “form and structured context of theatrical dance” and in the process had created something unique. “There is a new movement vocabulary emerging here,” wrote Kisselgoff. Clearly, Maen had come a long way from his dance beginnings in small-town Northern Ireland.

As for Nureyev, I wanted to know if it was true what they said about him. Was he really arrogant and petulant and difficult to work with? Was the artistic temperament always on display? … log in to read Choreographer to the Stars: Norman Maen (subscription required*)

Brian Brennan’s columnist page is here.

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in theform on the right (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Zimbabwe’s new colonial master

It looks increasingly as though Zimbabwe’s peasant farmers have simply exchanged colonial masters, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of his new column, China accepts tribute from its vassal, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe:

640px-Mugabecloseup2008

That significance is likely to grow early next year, when Mugabe is the odds-on favourite to be selected leader of the 54-member African Union (AU). The stage was set for Mugabe to be given this accolade last week when he was chosen unanimously to be chair of the 15-member Southern African Development Community.

Next year is southern Africa’s turn to provide the AU leadership, and Mugabe’s anti-colonial, freedom fighter history (actually, he was a behind-the-scenes schemer, not a fighter) still resonates with his brother leaders. His gross mismanagement of his own country and abuse of his people, a third of whom have fled abroad, is a secondary consideration.

But it will be a feather in Beijing’s cap to have its own man at the head of the AU …  click here toread China accepts tribute from its vassal, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe (Subscription required*).

Click here for Jonathan Manthorpe’s columnist page or here to subscribe or purchase a $1 site day pass

 

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work.

 

 

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The week on F&O

VANCOUVER, Canada -- A fisher throws his net at Kitsilano Beach, sandwiched between oil tankers and recreational beach users of the popular urban park. © Deborah Jones 2014

VANCOUVER, Canada — A fisher throws his net at Kitsilano Beach, sandwiched incongruously between the oil tankers in English Bay and the recreational beach users of the popular urban park. © Deborah Jones 2014

Within our site you’ll find a trove of free stories at no charge, but to support F&O, or access the original work behind our paywall, please use the links on the top right of each page to LOG IN or SUBSCRIBE. A day pass to the entire site is $1. Subscriptions range from $2.95 monthly to $19.95 annually. F&O carries no advertising and does not solicit donations from non-journalism organizations. We rely entirely on reader subscriptions. Thank you for your interest and support.

The headlines of our week at F&O:

In Dispatches:

Heart disease and stroke remain major killers; cancer catches up. By Ivy Shiue

Humans are now entering something called the third epidemiological transition, a period characterised by a delay in the age at which we develop chronic diseases. Looking at world incidence studies (the number of new cases each year), this is most apparent in developed countries, while developing countries, such as China, have been catching up.

International law fails to protect journalists from savagery. By Carmen Draghici

Statistics suggest that many states are unwilling or unable to deter crimes against journalists by ensuring that the perpetrators are held to account. The culture of impunity not only infringes the victims’ right to life, personal security and free speech, but also has a chilling effect on the media in general, as well as affecting the public’s right to information.

Does deep Atlantic heating account for global warming hiatus? By Richard Allan

There seem to have been a dozen or so explanations for why the Earth’s surface has warmed at a slower rate over the past 15 years compared to earlier decades. This is perhaps not so surprising given the complexity of the climate system – the world’s best detectives will inevitably struggle to disentangle the factors which influence every lump and bump in the surface temperature record. However, recent research implicates natural changes in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as the prime culprits.

A humpback whale feeding off the coast of Newfoundland on Canada's Atlantic coast. Photo by Greg Locke © 2014

A humpback whale feeding off the coast of Newfoundland on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Photo by Greg Locke © 2014

Biodefence Drives Ebola Drug Development. By  Christopher Degeling

Ebola virus disease typically only occurs in rural and remote areas among resource-poor populations. Until the large, recent outbreak in West Africa, cases of the illness were a rarity. So the fact that we even have experimental drugs for the disease tells a story about how responses to global health crises are shaped by the social and political interests of the developed world.

In Commentary:

Washington and Tehran find common cause against Islamic State, by Jonathan Manthorpe

It’s always a bit of a shock when the stern clerics that run Iran display an impish sense of humour. So when Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was quoted today as offering to help the West’s campaign against the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions against Tehran, the natural inclination was to chuckle at his gall and turn the page.

In Arts:

From Marathon Dancing to Pop Stardom: Frankie Laine, by Brian Brennan

In his heyday, singer Frankie Laine was all over the radio, on records and in jukeboxes, and on the soundtracks of movies and television shows. But when he did an interview with me at age 63 in 1976, he wanted to talk first about his little-known Depression-era career as a marathon dancer. His name then was Francesco LoVecchio and he participated in these endurance contests, he said, both for the opportunity to win prizes and for the chance to make some money singing when the dancers were taking their breaks.

Doctor Who: Supernatural, Religious — and a teaching tool? By Andrew Crome

Promoting understanding of the interaction between religion and popular culture allows us to see that religion isn’t a hermetically sealed set of ideas untouched by the contemporary world…  it is a dynamic and shifting force. Like Doctor Who, religion evolves, changes and regenerates in different cultural situations – and studying it is a real “adventure in time and space.

On the Frontlines blog:

The Return of Doctor Who

Patrick Stewart leads the Ice Bucket Challenge

James Foley, Journalist

Recommended reading elsewhere:
ProPublica has done a round-up of some stellar journalism about how California’s drought — possibly the driest in half a millennium — is affecting agriculture, business and living conditions in America’s most populous state..

Posted in Current Affairs

UN Security Council and journalists at risk

A legal expert wonders if it’s time for the United Nations Security Council to become pro-active in protecting journalism.

Daniel_pearl_highres

Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal correspondent, abducted in Pakistan in 2002 and beheaded in a manner copied by the murderers of freelance journalist James Foley this month. READ: International law fails to protect journalists from savagery.

“Statistics suggest that many states are unwilling or unable to deter crimes against journalists by ensuring that the perpetrators are held to account,” writes Carmen Draghici. “The culture of impunity not only infringes the victims’ right to life, personal security and free speech, but also has a chilling effect on the media in general, as well as affecting the public’s right to information.”

An excerpt of Draghici’s essay in Dispatches/Publica:

The vicious execution of US journalist James Foley by militants of the Islamic State deepens the concern that international law and diplomacy may be ill-equipped to address crimes against media workers reporting from conflict zones.

The video depicting the decapitation and cautioning Barack Obama to end military operations in Iraq displays a modus operandi typical of terrorist negotiation strategy. It evokes the murder of freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni in 2004 by the Islamic Army in Iraq, after the fundamentalist group attempted to use the hostage as a leverage tool for an ultimatum requesting the withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq.

It further echoes the murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl, abducted in Pakistan in 2002, whose captors posted the video of the beheading as a warning after unsuccessfully demanding the release of Guantanamo Bay Muslim prisoners.

Unlawful killings have also been used as a tactic to inhibit the dissemination of information and critical views, as in the kidnapping and shooting of US freelance journalist Steven Vincent by Islamic extremists in Iraq in 2005.

High-profile cases are only the tip of the iceberg … read International law fails to protect journalists from savagery. (Free story*)

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate, and will continue with, your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Posted in Current Affairs Tagged , , , , , |

The Return of Doctor Who

Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), at the site of a specially constructed crash-landed TARDIS on London’s Parliament Square. Photo: BBC publicity

Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), at the site of a specially constructed crash-landed TARDIS on London’s Parliament Square. BBC publicity photo

The Doctor returns on Saturday.

Doctor Who?

Yes.

Oh. Why, that would be Peter Capaldi, the latest actor to play the science fiction character Doctor Who. He is apparently loved by nerds, muggles and regular folk alike as he and his companions “travel through time and space in a miraculous police box called the TARDIS.” That’s the description by Netflix on one of the many Doctor Who series it offers. The new series can be seen in many countries on television, for those who still have one of those antiquated devices, or live-streaming: this fan site, Dr. Who.com, lists the channels, most of which have online sites, airing the new show.

For fans of a serious bent, we offer a thinky piece about Doctor Who’s usefulness to religious educators, by British historian Andrew Crome, in F&O Arts. “Promoting understanding of the interaction between religion and popular culture allows us to see that religion isn’t a hermetically sealed set of ideas untouched by the contemporary world,” Crome writes. “…  it is a dynamic and shifting force. Like Doctor Who, religion evolves, changes and regenerates in different cultural situations – and studying it is a real “adventure in time and space.”

Click here to read Doctor Who: Supernatural, Religious — and a teaching tool? (free story*) Excerpt:

The teaser trailers and articles that have been tantalising  fans for months are now reaching a crescendo, with the first episode of the new series due to air on August 23. And they promise a new era. The new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is already being promoted as offering a darker take on the role than his predecessor Matt Smith, and the production team have highlighted a slower pace of storytelling and less flirtatious relationship between the Doctor and his companion Clara (Jenna Coleman).

Although these changes will probably be a lot less noticeable than promotional material has suggested, recent trailers have certainly highlighted the bleaker aspects of the Doctor’s character. In a recent teaser, a Dalek voice is heard saying: “I see into your soul, Doctor … I see beauty, divinity, hatred!”

The choice of terms is interesting. Two are specifically religious concepts – the soul and divinity – which might initially appear out of place in a science fiction series. But this is far from the truth … read Doctor Who: Supernatural, Religious — and a teaching tool?

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs Tagged , , , , |

Patrick Stewart leads the Ice Bucket Challenge

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Taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Henry Huey via Flickr, Creative Commons

I was doing just fine ignoring the ice bucket trend, until actor Patrick Stewart wowed the world with his response to the challenge and made me look. 

It seems silly, but it turns out that silly — here, asking people to dump icy water over their heads — is a terrific way to fund-raise. Due to its ice bucket challenge, the American ALS Association said today it’s received $53.3 (U.S.) million in donations, compared to $2.2 million during the same time period last year. The challenge allowed Canada’s ALS charity to boost its fundraising goal from a paltry $10,000 (Canadian) to $3 million, reported Global news.

There are confusing aspects to the promotion. It’s unclear where it originated, and whether the first participants designated general charity or ALS as the specific recipient. Oddly, it challenges people to *either* dump water on their heads *or* write a cheque for ALS  – with a third option of doing both. As it turns out, most people are gracious enough to do both. 

YouTube, at the time of this post, offers some 1.1 million videos related to “ice bucket.” A Google search for “ice bucket challenge” delivers nearly 80 million hits. A deluge of news stories ranges from New York Times reports of funds raised to icky photos of wet celebrities to a brief about an ice bucket Halloween costume. Recently some firefighters helping in a challenge were injured when their truck was energized by an electrical wire; that one made international news.

Sceptics, predictably, have protested. Californians, whose state is in the midst of a brutal and historic drought, are asked to dump dirt instead of scarce water on their heads. Critics accused Chinese businessmen of doing the challenge, and vying over who was first, of  shameless marketing. Critics wrote scathingly about problems with the terms of the challenge (Time) or ethical debates over of ALS research using animals (Pamela Anderson), and use of stem cells — one anti-abortion group called ALS research part of a “culture of death.” “A lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research,” sniffed Will Oremus in Slate. “Narcissism masked as altruism,” snarked Arielle Pardes in Vice. Social media feeds flooded with outraged references to U.S. water boarding torture when former American president George W. Bush took the challenge.

My own first reaction to this phenomenon was to wonder how similar attention could be lavished on top killers that are grotesquely underfunded, like malaria and diarrhea, or similar good will could be turned to the countless horrors in the world. I decided I was being churlish. I think the ALS organizers should ignore the critics — they caught a wave, and good on ’em. I’ll bet, at least after their brains thaw, far more people know the name Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive neurodegenerative disease that’s often called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Finally, I nominate Patrick Stewart for a Class Act award for his own ice bucket challenge — see the video below. One quibble: someone please – please! – tell Stewart it’s sacrilege to pour great whiskey onto ice.

— Deborah Jones

 

Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in theform on the right (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted in Gyroscope Tagged , , , |

Time capsule: Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine and Jimmy Crawford in New York, circa 1947. Photo by William P Gottlieb, United States Library of Congress Public Domain

Frankie Laine and Jimmy Crawford in New York, circa 1947. Photo by William P Gottlieb, United States Library of Congress Public Domain

Frankie Laine had been one of the most successful of the big-voiced balladeers who emerged in North America in the late 1940s and 1950s. But as Arts columnist Brian Brennan reveals in his new time capsule piece, Laine first made his name not as a singer but as a world-record champion of marathon dancing. An excerpt of From Marathon Dancing to Pop Stardom: Frankie Laine:

In his heyday, singer Frankie Laine was all over the radio, on records and in jukeboxes, and on the soundtracks of movies and television shows. But when he did an interview with me at age 63 in 1976, he wanted to talk first about his little-known Depression-era career as a marathon dancer. His name then was Francesco LoVecchio and he participated in these endurance contests, he said, both for the opportunity to win prizes and for the chance to make some money singing when the dancers were taking their breaks.

In the summer and fall of 1932, Laine and his partner, Ruthie Smith, danced for 145 days straight at a club in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They shared $1,000 in prize money (“You can figure out how much an hour that worked out to,” he said) and got their names into The Guinness Book of World Records. Laine was 19 and doing whatever it took to survive economically. Competing in marathon dance contests was a good way to make money, he said, because “we had no laundry bills or rent to pay during the time we were dancing …  log in first to read From Marathon Dancing to Pop Stardom: Frankie Laine (subscription*).

Brian Brennan’s columnist page is here.

 

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs Tagged , , , |

Global Warming hiatus due – surprise! – to Atlantic Ocean

A humpback whale feeding off the coast of Newfoundland on Canada's Atlantic coast. Photo by Greg Locke © 2014

A humpback whale feeding off the coast of Newfoundland on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Photo by Greg Locke © 2014

New research published today in the journal Science suggests, surprisingly, that the answer to the biggest climate change mystery of the past decade or so may be found in the deep Atlantic Ocean, and not as suspected in the Pacific. Noted Science:

Why did the rapid global warming that characterized the latter part of the 20th century slow down over the last 15 years or so? Many different theories have been proposed, but a new study suggests that a massive movement of heat from shallow surface waters to deep regions of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans — but not the Pacific Ocean, as many researchers had predicted — might be responsible.

Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung analyzed data from profiling floats, or oceanographic sensors that can move vertically throughout the water column, and traced the pathways that heat has taken through the world’s oceans since the turn of the 21st century. The oceans are capable of storing about 90% of the world’s surface heat content, and the researchers suggest that most of the excess heat that would have otherwise continued to fuel global warming is currently stored in the basins of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. The researchers also suggest that a sudden shift in salinity that corresponded with the slowdown of global warming at the beginning of the 21st century may have triggered this migration of heat to deeper waters. Historically, similar events have lasted 20 to 35 years, according to Chen and Tung. Consequently, the researchers suggest that global warming will pick back up in 15 more years or so, when heat returns to the surface waters.

F&O publishes an analysis of the findings in Dispatches/Science, by Richard Allen, professor of climate science at the University of Reading: Does deep Atlantic heating account for global warming hiatus?  (free story, via The Conversation). Excerpt:

There seem to have been a dozen or so explanations for why the Earth’s surface has warmed at a slower rate over the past 15 years compared to earlier decades. This is perhaps not so surprising given the complexity of the climate system – the world’s best detectives will inevitably struggle to disentangle the factors which influence every lump and bump in the surface temperature record.

However, recent research implicates natural changes in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as the prime culprits. Just as the apparently random motions in a river’s flow can shift before our eyes from one minute to the next, the gradual sloshing about of our vast ocean waters can influence Earth’s climate from one year to the next and from one decade to the next.

It is clear that natural variability has and always will influence the climate … continue reading Does deep Atlantic heating account for global warming hiatus? (free story)

 

Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work.

 

Posted in Current Affairs Tagged , , |