Airy Persiflage

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Thanksgiving

This photo is by photographer Gerald Waller, and was published in Life magazine in 1946. It shows an Austrian orphan with a pair of new shoes given to him by the Red Cross.

It may be my all-time favorite photo. It seemed appropriate for today.

New shoes

Airy Persiflage
Politics

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Little Note Nor Long Remember

Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address 150 years ago today — or as Gwen Ifill said tonight on the PBS NewsHour, “four score and seventy years ago.”

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns put together this mashup of famous people reciting the address:

Airy Persiflage
Music

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Not Much Time!

Yesterday was my sixty-first birthday.

That means I’m frantically busy now, because today was the start of my sixty-second year — although I must say it already seems to have lasted longer than that.

My theme song for the year:

Politics

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Fifty Years Ago

This happened fifty years ago today:

George wallace blocking the schoolhouse door

And so did this:

Airy Persiflage
Science

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The Most Interesting Man in the World

Today would have been physicist Richard Feynman’s 95th birthday.

I can’t think of a better way to observe this day than to listen to him talk, or to read his first memoir, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.

This is a long video — about 50 minutes. It’s well worth the time to watch it all.

Science

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Who’s Been Where in the Solar System?

The BBC has a great big chart of man’s exploration of the solar system. The chart is packed pretty densely with information, but it’s worth studying.

Saturn missions

Click the image to see the full chart.

Politics

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Reruns

Via the Rachel Maddow Show, here’s an ad called Déjà Vu:

Tired of reruns yet?

Science

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Most Interesting Planet in the Solar System

Really, you can never have too much of the Earth from space:

View full-screen, highest resolution, as usual…

Science

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Shuttle’s Last Flight

YouTube video of Space Shuttle Endeavor’s last flight. Voices are mostly from pilots of the chase planes.

I guess this flyover is the Space Shuttle equivalent of a ticker-tape parade for earlier heroes of flight.

Watch it full screen, if possible, at the highest available resolution.

Science

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Earth from the International Space Station

This is time-lapse footage of Earth as seen from the International Space Station. I think the flashes of lightning from earthly thunderstorms are particularly interesting.

Watch it full screen, if possible, at the highest possible resolution.

(Very similar video, with different music, is here.)

Science

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Sounds of a Shuttle Launch

Video of a Space Shuttle launch (with sound) from cameras on the solid rocket boosters. (I posted something similar a while ago. This video has multiple angles, and occasional explanatory text messages.)

Watch it full screen, if you can.

Funnies
Politics

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Bully Pulpit

Double-dog dare

Cartoonist Don Asmussen has perfectly captured the tone of our current political discourse:

(Click the image to see the full cartoon.)

Airy Persiflage

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Abe Lincoln is 203!

Years ago, when I first heard about plans to “colorize” some old movies, I was very curious about the process, but opposed it for “artistic” reasons.

In the meantime, I’ve seen a handful of colorized movies, and I think my artistic objections were justified.

But just a few days ago, I got this photo in email:

Lincoln Colorized

(Click for a larger image.)

Mygrapefruit is a photo retoucher who also colorizes old photos. This seems to bring Abraham Lincoln back to life on this, his 203rd birthday.

Books

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Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

Many years ago, someone at work noticed that I was reading David Copperfield.

He asked, “Are you being punished for something?”

Another person in the room overheard this. Entirely by coincidence, that person was reading the same book at the same time.

The two of us said, almost in unison, “Oh, you don’t know…”

The great Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago today.

I thank his hovering spirit for Nicholas Nickleby, for A Christmas Carol, for A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, and especially for his greatest novel, David Copperfield.

There are other Dickens books I haven’t yet read. I should get busy and read them, before someone says to me, “Oh, you don’t know…”

Airy Persiflage

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Personal History

Thirty-eight years ago today, at 10:00 PM, I started work at my first full-time job at the Ohio State University.

I was a custodial worker. I spent a long time last night trying to remember dozens of people I worked with back then.

It was my intention to work there for a few years to pay my way through school, but things don’t always turn out as we imagine.

Thirty years and twenty-five days after I started, I retired from Ohio State. Happily, I had moved up the employment ladder in the meantime. I retired with a job title of “Senior Systems Programmer.”

As it happens, retirement is the career I was born for.