Saturday, March 21, 2009

World's Fastest Flashbulb

Award winning scientist causes light to make itself shorter.

Photos of atoms, movies of chemical reactions now possible.

While a speeding bullet is quick, it's nothing compared to how quickly subatomic particles move, measured in increments called attoseconds (one attosecond is to a second what a second is to the age of the universe).

Dr. Paul Corkum, from the University of Ottawa, developed a way to make a pulse of light that lasts only 80 attoseconds, quick enough to capture images of the very small and extraordinarily fast-paced world of molecules and atoms. It's opened up a whole new way of visualizing and studying molecular processes and, for this remarkable achievement, he was awarded this year's Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering - Canada's most prestigious science award.

Audio: CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks. Host: Bob McDonald.
News Release:
Univerity of Ottawa.

Have you met Ted?

TV comedy has one Ted on Monday's at 8:30 on CBS...

And another as the title character in a quirky comedy 8:30 Wednesday on ABC.

Here co-star Portia DeRossi recruits you to join the evil corporation that provides the situation in the sitcom "Better off Ted."

Few things have a harder uphill struggle or shorter half-life than a new TV comedy... Even those with good pedigrees. See if you like this Ted quickly... While you still can.

One starring Heather Graham was cancelled after a single airing, having displayed all of "Emily's Reasons Why Not" to watch.

Ted #3 is different.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), is a conference which promotes "ideas worth spreading."

Psychologist Barry Schwartz is a professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice (2004). His presentation: The Wise Are Made, Not Born, is a call for "practical wisdom" to help rebuild our world (run time 20:45). It was filmed February 2009 at TED.

You Better Look Sharp

Does she look like a good risk to you?

22 year old Caley from Missouri has a grade D credit rating, a 49% debt to income ratio, a recent cosmetology school diploma and an even newer personal loan... Funded by 123 individual micro lenders, who have taken a stake in her future.

She filled out an online application at

The $3,650.00 she received has essentially refinanced her outstanding balance on 5 credit cards. Her terms: 13.95% over 3 years, APR 14.66%, monthly payment $124.66.

"I am told that I have an endearing personality and a big heart," Caley said in describing her previous 4 1/2 years as a full time waitress... An important factor because cosmeticians make the bulk of their income in tips as well.

A study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Washington concluded looks count in lending, and ugly may be the new untrustworthy. But... She looks good and good for it.

Street Artist Comes In From The Cold

Shepard Fairey’s now iconic image of Barack Obama helped propel the candidate to the White House.

It also propelled himself into the national spotlight, a legal battle with the Associated Press and a major exhibit at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.

Described as "the first museum survey of one of the most influential street artists of our time" by the ICA, they invite one and all to attend before it closes August 19, 2009... Andre the Giant says, "Obey."

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now,

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, February 5, 2009.
New York Times review: Can a Rebel Stay a Rebel Without the Claws?

March Madness, Hedge-Fund Style

What's your strategy to win your NCAA pool?

Chris Wilson says: act like a hedge-fund manager.

Check out the collective wisdom on winners and losers...
Then bet against it.

Article:, March 17th.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stand-ups Sit Down For More Film Fun

MST3K presents...

11 years,

198 episodes,

1 original film,

but that's not all...

Now, a decade after cancellation, the non-puppet cast of the cable cult classic "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" return as "Cinematic Titanic," with new studio DVDs and a live stage version of their act. Reporter Karen Pelland is a serious film maker in reel life... But not for now:

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, March 17th.

For purists..

See more original MST3K on YouTube.

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Defining the an American Dream.

From PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway, March 10th.

Boundary Issues

British Blunder in drawing Border

Pashtun tribesmen in equal numbers astride the Afghan/Pakistan border feel estranged from both countries, a strong sense of ethnic identity, and fierce hostility toward all outsiders... until Al Qaeda came along.

Jackie Northam profiles the people on the receiving end of US Predator air strikes... One of a multi-part series.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition.

The Beats & The Tweets

From chat to IMs, texting to Twitter...

It's all acronyms & abbreviation, prompting other communicators to adopt downsizing.

Less is more... more or less.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.

In with the Purple and out with the Blue

Getting Used to IsolationCraig D’Andrea is 24... His fingers seem to be wise beyond their years.

Craig demonstrates mastery of many techniques, including two handed -- reminiscent of playing a "Chapman Stick."

Getting Used to Isolation is his newest release on CandyRat records.

Audio: suggested by PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's On

The opening round of March Madness starts today. You've got your favorites. So does the President.

Photo & Video: ESPN

Extreme Ice: Climate Change in Time-Lapse

Nova & National Geographic show the Big Meltdown

Robot time lapse cameras, real life exploration at the surface and high intensity under the ice. Extreme Ice debuts March 24th - local broadcast times vary. See more at the Extreme Ice Website

Listen or Download: radio interview from NPR's Fresh Air.
Photo: James Balog, Nova & WGBH Educational Foundation

Torches & Pitchforks: AIG

In Depth
Angry peasants demand Revision, Reform, Reneging, Japanese Style "Ribbons of Shame" or Ritual Suicide:

Georgetown Law professor looks at legal options & equal protection:

Video: MSNBC's Countdown, March 17th.

From the Hearing Room @ High Noon:

Audio: BBC, PRI, WBUR's Here & Now, March 18th.

AIG's Govt-Appointed CEO, Edward Liddy:
Death Threats Force Bonus Refusals, Returns

Video: CBS Evening News, March 18th

GE offers a peek into its finance unit

Congressional Cougar?

Brad Pitt lobbied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on behalf of the ‘Make it Right’ project on March 5th. No word on whether they made it... right then, or since.

Photo: Getty Images

I've Been Searchin'

See something you like? Click It!

A Google alternative offers a "visual" search engine. It's called SEARCH ME. This promo video from the site shows how to use it.

Cheese Factory contributor: Steve Slaton.

Supply Chain Motion Detector

Is the economy moving again?

Ask Fred Smith. As the founder and CEO of FedEx, he'll be among the first to know, and deliver, good news.

Fed Ex and arch rival UPS are once again locked in a two-way race now that DHL abandoned domestic service and retreated behind the Maginot Line. Their volume on express overnight air, expedited ground and semi-trailer freight shipping will serve as a leading indicator of economic recovery.

Conversations from the Corner Office appear on Market Place.
This one is from March 11th.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Late Final Edition

"P-I" & Seattle say "Good night & good bye," as the city's oldest newspaper folds after 146 year run.

Industry asks:

Is digital the way to escape doom?

Still news... No paper?

Wendy Kaufman of Seattle's KUOW reports on the the Post Intelligencer's final scoop... news of its own demise, how time ran out and what's next.

From NPR's Morning Edition, March 17th as the paper was put to bed...
for the last time.

The Luck of The Irish

They're shamrocks, Mr. O'Bama, not "Irish Arugula."
Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Cowen presented a bowl at the annual White House shamrock ceremony. Cowen was in DC for 2009's St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Photo: CNN

Grumpy Old Men 2, Mooseslayer 1

Why are these guys so unhappy?

Well there's the obvious, but these expressions also earned them a place in the ranks of smiles turned upside down at Sturgeon Face, along with the others who didn't smile and Say Cheese!

Submitted by Cheese Factory contributor Dan McGrath.

Unbroken Organ Donor Transplant Chain

He doesn't look at all like Haley Joel Osment.

But his twist on Pay it Forward was to give the gift of life as an organ donor, and asked recipients to find a donation for someone else in dire need.

Video from the CBS Evening News, March 13th.

You're on my Public Enemies list

While your friends list is watching what you're up to, so are the police.

Social networking sites have become a vital law enforcement tool for digital detectives looking to link you to unsolved crimes.

Daniel Sieberg reports from Portsmouth, VA.

Video from the CBS Evening News, March 13th.

Original or Extra Crispy

On today's menu:

Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - 1983

or would you like Simply Red - Sunrise - 2003?

Same music, different words, your choice:

Please place your order at the comments widow.

Videos available on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Guinness

Guinness is Ireland's most popular exported ale.
It's 250 as of St. Patrick's Day 2009.

As you can plainly see, authentic Guinness is dark rich brown, topped by a frothy head, and is consumed in one pint portions.
These are not considered acceptable substitutes...

Picking Top Irish Pubs

Would you believe a bar in Las Vegas sell the most Guinness in the USA?

Bet on it!

And you can, because "Nine Fine Irishmen" is inside the New York-New York Casino Hotel... On the strip near Tropicana.

USA Today had a travel writer and a brewing industry magazine editor team up to suggest destinations with the right atmosphere and ales to say "Erin Go Bragh" (Ireland Forever!) or "Erin go bra-less" if you're headed to Vegas.

Toast St. Patrick and 250 years of Guinness.

Amazing Beer Bottle Dominoes

Suggested by Cheese Factory contributor Dan McGrath.

Toast, Toastier, Toastiest

Quotations, Blessings, Proverbs and Toasts

Odds are you'll hear the word "Sláinte!" (pronounced 'slawn-cha') on St. Patty's Day. It's a common Irish toast, meaning "Health! "

The equivalent word in German is "Gesundheit." Toasting with it at Oktoberfest is discouraged.


Better write your favorites down. If you celebrate properly, you may require assistance from a designated reader. Saying "suh lawn chair" instead of "Sláinte!" is evidence you require assistance from a designated driver.

Say It In Broken Gaelic

In the Middle Ages Gaelic was spoken over a wider area, and by more people than any other European language.

Here's what it sounds like today on RTÉ RAIDIÓ NA GAELTACHTA:

Although recognized as an official language within the Republic of Ireland, estimates put the total number of fluent or native speakers at under 350,000 and the inhabitants of the officially designated Gaeltacht regions of Ireland at 91,862, as of the 2006 census. Great Britain controlled the entire island between 1801 & 1922 and strictly enforced English only laws.

RAIDIÓ NA GAELTACHTA is the Gaelic language service of RTÉ, Ireland's national radio system. For other streams visit RTÉ's site.

There's a live performance venue at The Fremont Street Experience. It's located at 3rd Street by the northwest entrance of Fitzgerald's casino... given the date and location an appropriate venue for Irish music on St. Patty's Eve.

The headliners were
Wiskey Galore from Bakersfield, CA... An unusual place to be from if you're playing "updated Irish" music (as a band member's wife described their sound). The band's card explains they're "American Bred, Celtic Fed." Acoustic Guitars, bass, bagpipes, whistle and authentic Irish percussion. The four man line-up has no official drummer. They take turns depending on the tune.

The band loves Las Vegas and has come back 7 consecutive years for St. Patrick's Day. And everyone seemed to have a good time, except for the one Celtic fashionista I heard complaining: "The kilts are all wrong."

The unofficial opening act was an unamplified duo of buskers playing in a more traditional style. Be sure you stand directly in front of them because John's guitar doesn't carry as well as his whistle or accordion. You'll want to hear them clearly, and bask in fiddle player Jocelyn's radiant smile. It's there all the time she's playing, not just when you drop some money into her open case, but her bright blue eyes and the way she thanks you may motivate a return trip with a larger denomination in hand.

Both acts appear again tonight as the sun goes down and the lights go up in Vegas.

Here's To You Jerry(s)

In an Irish family it's not unusual for first names to repeat in successive generations. In fact my dad, the son of Irish immigrants, used to joke about it, saying: "You need a program to tell who's who."

He and my mom decided they'd give their children first names without family histories. As did my sister, who married a guy from German American stock. But my brother married another Irish American, and they reverted to tradition.

I like to think Dad would be proud to know there's a grandson that bears his name and was born on St. Patrick's Day. And that this son has thought of him every day for the nearly 32 years he's been gone.

Here's to you, Jerry. I don't know exactly when I'll see either of you again, but I have faith I will.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March Madness

Craig Robinson, First Coach

CBS Sunday Morning, March 1st

No. 1 Seeds & Final Four Picks
ESPN, March 15th

The cheese previously available here had passed its shelf life.
Try this instead.

It's Summertime

See You Later... Please keep the Night Light on.

My brother with the big house, great family & MBA degree disputes it if I tell people I grew up along the coast in Massachusetts.

Oh, he'll concede that's where we lived, but he doesn't believe I really grew up... I don't have a big house, great family or MBA degree.

If I meet him half way, I'll concede that a career in radio prolonged my adolescence... by 30 years, or so. But what I do have are stories.

And so does Dick Summer. They're better, and there are lots more of them... Sold in sensual personal audio cd collections and... Told each week in a blog & podcast, where he holds forth as Senior VP/Communications of the "Louie Louie Generation" (comprised of 'Big Louie' his bad self -- and the legions who both knew the song wasn't dirty and laughed about so many others believing it was).

With an ever-present smile and suggestion of mischief in a voice described as "raw silk," Dick moved from keeping the Night Light on during a distinguished radio career, into a semi-retirement sustained by three great loves: his wife (aka Wonder Wench), piloting his own single engine plane, and continuing to make magic in front of microphones.

You may recognize the name through your connection to big cities in the Northeast, or stations from there. You may recognize the sound from cable TV ads about disability claims. But until you hear the audio retrospective at Big Apple Air Checks... You don't know Dick.

Boxed, Not Bottled

Which is better: the idea, the look or both?

Green Hornet vs Black Market


Robert Hall stars as Britt Reid/Green Hornet, a modern day Lone Ranger, combatting crime he learns about as a newspaper editor. In this episode, broadcast during the late stages of WW II, he takes on illegal commerce.

From WXYZ Detroit, May 31, 1945. Run Time 25:47

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Drive Now, Pay Later

Ever notice how TV ads that look like they're about cars sound like they're about financing?

It's no accident.

We drove into debt courtesy of Detroit...

From APM's Marketplace, March 9th
Image from independent journalist
Danny Schechter's 2006 film In Debt We Trust

Any Way You Look At It You Lose

One from the warehouse:
Environment & economics force a second look at nuclear power during 2008's oil price shock.

From BBC TV's Newsnight, August 5, 2008.

Stewart & Cramer Face Off

CBS News' Jeff Greenfield weighs in on the feud that has sparked debate about media coverage of the current economic crisis.

Video from the CBS Evening News, March 13th.
See the showdown on this full episode of The Daily Show.

Stewart vs Cramer - LA Times Review

Jon Stewart is funny -- until he's interviewing you
Jason DeCrow / Associated Press
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," makes a point during an appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." -- March 12. 2009 on Comedy Central.

In his smackdown of CNBC's Jim Cramer, 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart again displays his journalistic chops.
By Matea Gold Los Angeles Times March 14, 2009

New York -- The verdict from critics Friday was quick and unsparing: Comedian Jon Stewart trounced CNBC pundit Jim Cramer in their televised encounter Thursday night. Forgoing his typically caustic humor, a serious and at times angry Stewart eviscerated Cramer for jocularly discussing how to manipulate the stock market and slammed CNBC as an ineffective watchdog of Wall Street. In the process, the host of "The Daily Show" provided one of those memorable television moments that distill the public mood -- in this case, angst about the economy's swift decline. Stewart also displayed the tough interviewing skills that belie his insistence that he's merely an entertainer.

Jorma Kaukonen Revisits His Folk Roots

He was a real rock star.

The singer and guitarist found fame with a band that exemplified the psychedelic '60s: Jefferson Airplane. Years after living that life, Kaukonen is returning to his roots — blues and folk music — on his new album, River of Time.

Jorma brought his flat top for a conversation with NPR's Scott Simon.

From NPR's Weekend Edition Satuday, March 14th
Photo courtesy of the artist.