Posts Tagged ‘earth’

Breslin and Berry, Two Originals: RIP

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

By Bob Gaydos

Chuck Berry and Jimmy Breslin ... originals

Chuck Berry and Jimmy Breslin … originals

And so it went … A brief look at a few of the significant stories of the week just past:

  • Jimmy Breslin died. He was 88. And a pioneer. If you’re a New Yorker of a certain age — at least in your 30s, but especially 50-plus — you know the name and you remember the words. The quintessential big city columnist. Bold, brassy, tender, sarcastic, funny, biting, egotistical, fearless and relentless. For decades, his columns in The Herald-Tribune, Daily News and Newsday were the heart and soul and voice for millions of readers. I began reading his sports columns as a teenager with the Trib and followed him to the News and Son of Sam. I carried his philosophy of bringing a sports columnist’s approach to writing about life in general when I left college — where I was a sports editor — and got a job as a police reporter. Don’t focus on the score. Find the real story. Write it like a novel. Breslin had ego and attitude and an uncanny instinct for people. And he could write like hell. He pegged a fellow New Yorker famously known as the Donald as a phony who played the media (“the plural of mediocre,” Breslin wrote) like a fiddle and used other people’s money to con still others out of theirs. “A white Al Sharpton,’’ Breslin once called him. I ran into Sharpton when I was writing editorials in Middletown, N.Y., and he was loudly defending 15-year-old Tawana Brawley against non-existent rapists in Dutchess County, across the Hudson. Fake news is not a new phenomenon. You can look it up. “30,” Jimmy.
  • Chuck Berry died. He was 90. He was rock ‘n’ roll before it became rock, acid rock, punk rock and whatever other kind of rock legions of Berry wannabees dreamed up. He created the beat, the attitude and the philosophy that spoke to 1950s teenagers looking for a music of their own. “Sweet LIttle Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode”  and “Roll Over Beethoven” were upbeat, hard-driving and unlike anything previous generations had claimed as theirs. Irresistible. Plus, you could understand every word he sang and he could play the hell out of the guitar. Another pioneer. Check him out on YouTube, youngsters.
  • Shaquille O’Neal said the Earth is flat. The NBA Hall of Famer is known to be a jokester, but he’s apparently serious about this. He says his proof is that when he
    Shaquille O'Neal

    Shaquille O’Neal

    drives from Florida to California his car does not go up and down 360 degrees. And, sorry, Mr. Einstein, Shaq’s not convinced about that gravity theory either, even though something made his free throws fall far short of the basket. The flat-Earth theory is gaining traction among NBA players, which may be a commentary on so many of its stars coming out of college too early or not even going to college. Or it may simply be a sign that it’s not just fans, but even the players are getting bored with the lack of meaningful games. Maybe if the stars played in all the games when they’re healthy it would prompt more interest — and less resentment — among fans who pay hefty prices to see them sit on the bench. Put a round ball in your hands, dribblers, and stop thinking the sun rises and sets on your command.

  • FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee in a televised hearing that there was no evidence that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped the residence of his successor, despite that successor’s repeated claims to the contrary. Comey also testified that the FBI is investigating possible contacts between the current president’s campaign aides and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign with the goal of influencing the outcome in favor of the current president. Republicans in Congress appeared to be most concerned with how this possibly treasonous behavior came to be public knowledge. There was also no indication that the current president would apologize to his predecessor for falsely accusing him of a federal crime. Stay tuned.
  • Breslin would say I buried the lead. Not this week.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

UFO’s and Global Warming: It’s Science

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

By Bob Gaydos

NASA was accused of intentionally cutting the live video feed as the gray object appeared over the Earth's horizon.

NASA was accused of intentionally cutting the live video feed as the gray object appeared over the Earth’s horizon.

Do you believe in UFO’s? I do. Well, to be precise, I believe in the possibility of UFO’s. More precisely, I believe in the possibility of intelligent life somewhere in the universe other than on this tiny planet we inhabit.

It’s a matter of numbers. They are too overpowering to dismiss. Astronomers’ best estimate (based on science and math, not guess work) is that there are between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. That’s galaxies. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains an estimated 100 billion stars. Around the stars are billions of planets. Alone, Earthlings? Only arrogance would argue that.

I’m thinking about this for a couple of reasons:

  • Digital Journal, a website that follows such things, reported recently that the live video feed from the International Space Station was interrupted just as a misty, gray object appeared over the horizon of the Earth. UFO researchers claim that NASA deliberately cut the feed and that this is routine behavior by the space agency whenever unidentified objects appear. NASA claimed it was simply technical difficulties.
  • If I accept the argument that there are no UFOs and that life doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe, that the people who track unidentified flying objects are just odd folks with too much time on their hands, I can only conclude that the way we treat what is presumably then the only habitable body in the universe is a shameful display of ignorance.

Full disclosure: I live in what has sometimes been referred to as the UFO capital of the Northeast — Pine Bush, N.Y. Although things have been quiet in the local skies of late, UFO sightings at times have seemed as common as snow plow sightings. There is an active UFO support group and a UFO festival every spring that includes a parade down the main street of the hamlet.

This is obviously good for business and the Chamber of Commerce was smart to capitalize on the area’s reputation. It’s a lot of fun, with kids dressed up as space visitors of one sort or another and purple alien figures adorning the windows of many businesses. But the UFO group is serious and meets regularly to discuss UFO sightings and paranormal-related topics

I am a skeptic when it comes to conspiracy theories, which abound among UFO believers. I also know it’s tempting for some people to inflict hoaxes on others because they think it’s funny. There’s a lot of that surrounding UFO’s as well. But I do not casually discount the possibility of UFO sightings because, again, look at those numbers.

The recent NASA video was posted to YouTube and shows a fuzzy grayish object rising over the horizon of Earth. UFO followers say it wasn’t the moon, which they say appears white in videos. I have no idea who’s right in this matter. I do know that a lot of people don’t believe NASA and think the government covers up every possible contact with UFOs. I also know that a lot of people think the UFO believers are not to be believed. I wish that a meeting of the minds could take place of believers, skeptics, scientists and government officials for a serious discussion of the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe and whether or not those life forms may have visited us.

While I’m waiting for that to happen, I marvel at the colossal short-sightedness, neglect and seemingly willful ignorance with which so many of us treat the planet on which we live. We have polluted our waters, leveled our forests, wiped out species of animals and burned so much fossil fuel that the air in some places is unbreathable and the planet itself is warming up at a rate that alarms scientists.

There is almost universal agreement among scientists that global warming is going on and that it poses a serious threat to the future of the planet. Simultaneously, one of the dumbest examples of self-sabotaging denial I have heard is the one that goes something like, “Well, I’m not a scientist, but I don’t believe in global warming.” Every Republican politician seems to have uttered this line in the past year.

Well, I’m not a plumber, but that’s who I call when I can’t get water for a shower.

President Obama made this point well in his State of the Union address: “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”

Yes, we should. And we should stop dismissing theories because we don’t understand the science behind them or discount beliefs because we can’t accept the conclusions they may lead us to. Arrogance combined with ignorance is a recipe for disaster.

So, yes, the Earth is getting too warm for our own good.

Do UFO’s exist? Good chance.

Does our government cover up information about possible UFO’s? Even better chance.

Is there life elsewhere in the universe? Undoubtedly.

Is it more intelligent than us? I sure as hell hope so.

* * *

PS: See you at the Pine Bush Area UFO Festival and Fair this spring.

Speak Up Now to Save Mother Earth

Friday, June 13th, 2014

By Patrick Gallagher

Downtown Beijing, not on a good day.

Downtown Beijing, not on a good day.

Today on the radio, some coal industry hack stated that the proposed new regulations aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions “would make electricity much more expensive …  if we can even get it.”

I’d be embarrassed if I ever said something that absurd. If we can even get it? Nature and modern electronics allow us to get all the electricity we want, clean, just for the cost of building the collector.

Investing in a smart grid would revolutionize efficiency and create demand for large pools of skilled workers. Fewer people are employed in mining and fracking every year. Those that do keep jobs are treated as badly as our veterans and once they’re used up they get tossed aside as liabilities.

Even Thomas Edison, who was no paragon of green capitalism, and who was deeply invested in mining and other extractive polluting industries, knew that the wisest and cheapest way to get inexpensive energy was going to be from the sun. Okay, so ignore the science that even Edison knew was out there over a hundred years ago. He understood natural capitalism. He was a hero of science and industry to many because he innovated until he succeeded. But the fossil fuel industry is as stagnant as the air over Beijing.

Let’s forget that there is a foolish discussion over whether climate change is real. Even if we are not changing the climate, we are fouling the nest. Can’t deny that! And yet we can get all the clean energy we want. Do we want it or not? is the only real question. For most people, it’s not difficult to answer.

Whoever you are making these statements on the radio, have a little respect for yourself and withdraw that comment from the public record. Stop publicly humiliating your family and future descendants. Do you breathe air and drink water? Do you have a TV? You must if you’re considered worthy of radio air time. Can you see pictures of China’s smog-choked cities? We sell them a lot of that coal. Can you see any of the photos of thermal inversions made from noxious clouds of toxic emissions whose contents and effects are often unpronounceable and unconscionable?

You can’t even see the cities through the smog. That’s not any holy smoke there! That’s not good for jobs or health care costs or kids or anything but Peabody coal and their lobbyists in our government. It’s real good for those revolving-door guys who write our laws that allow this to keep going on. Everybody knows it’s good for them.

Well, that air comes here. Just like the radiation from the Fukashima nuclear plant in Japan and the smokestack emissions from the states in the Midwest that make acid rain in the East. It’s not just the foreign polluters, because we make much more than our share; so let’s not lay it off on some foreign source. That stuff all goes around and around and it ends right up in your kids, but it’s not like musical chairs.

The coal/tar sands/oil/gas/pipeline industry never seems to stop singing to our political system and everybody working for them is always getting a seat. You may have to sit down because you have emphysema or too much mercury in your kidneys. You may not be able to stand up because you live too close to a Frack pad and your ground water’s polluted or you have a nosebleed or a migraine, but you can have a seat as long as you don’t complain and get in the way of corporate profits.

Don’t get sidetracked; it’s not just coal. It’s filthy fuels we have been trained to depend on battling for dominance in a fight to our death. I’m still using my lungs every day; so is my family. And I want to breathe with my lungs and with my family and with my neighbors and with the people I love.

One thing I’ve noticed is that these sorts of unconscious, uninformed statements like the one by the guy on the radio are rarely made by women. Across the country, mothers seem to be coming to the forefront of the environmental movement because the kids are clearly impacted more and more as population grows and increases in worldwide emissions continue. Why do we let a guy like that speak for anyone? Listen, but use your lungs while you can and say something civil and sensible back to these folks. He and his friends just can’t go unanswered anymore.All cultures have always understood that it’s called Mother Earth. What would she say?

Patrick Gallagher lives in Warwick.