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About.com: Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2011

March 30th to April 23rd: Mercury in cardinal Aries. Refresh old ideas in time for Spring. A time to be brave, and confront others, if this is a loose end. Universe creates serendipity, via opportunities to speak courageously. Here we face the fear of expressing what might rouse others to anger.

It's a break from agreeing, or saying everything is fine, when its not. It's risking being authentic, when you know it's provocative. It's feeling lit up with passion, and allowing that to be a force that works on others. It's dealing with blowback from being forceful about your opinion. It's daring to face those who have been in positions of authority. It's being excited about new ideas, some that might have been threads of inspiration for you all along.

Rx periods can cause delays, frustrations, mix-ups. Watch out for hair-trigger tempers, raging and ranting, blowing a fuse. Deep breathing and physical activity helps blow off pent up intensity.
It's only one day in, and this Mercury retrograde is already living down to its reputation.

First, LiveJournal was misbehaving. True, it had a perfectly good explanation--LJ was the subject of a DDos attack--but so did the disruption of transatlantic flights last year because of an eruption in Iceland. That also happened during a Mercury retrograde.

Second, I got lost twice today. The first time was when I was trying to get to my car to retrieve some papers. I ended up at the opposite corner of the parking structure and had to figure out where I really was. I ended up being late to introduce the speaker. As for the papers I pulled out, one of them was for the wrong time, which means I didn't pull it out at the right time, either. That's two miscommunications in addition to being lost and late. The second happened when I took the speaker back to his hotel. Because of a misunderstanding of directions, I ended up taking the wrong offramp and going around in circles before I delivered him to his destination.

Then, I couldn't call home. My home phone would ring, but when my wife picked it up, she would get a dial tone instead of hearing me. We had to reset the modem and wait an hour for phone service to come back.

On top of all this, I'm having trouble getting access to a Google document.

Yeah, I'm a scientist and I know that's entirely likely that it's all a coincidence or self-fulfilling prophesy, or I was just having a bad day, but it is weird. On the other hand, Mercury retrograde makes for a convenient excuse. As I tell my students, my official position is that astrology is bunk, but it's fun bunk and generally harmless besides.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

march11Detroit Where the Weak are Killed and EatenMichigan Stand Up and Fight

Crazy Eddie Motie News: Water Wars Detroit style


A brief overview of the controversies around the City of Detroit's water system, plus stories I tell my students (including one about my ex-girlfriend) and a brief programming note about a talk tomorrow night by Raj Patel.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

Late Night Motie News Linkspam

Tonight, news about food, energy, and politics, along with two stories I tell my students, one about the future of the human population and the other about shopping for a car. I'm sure you can guess which one is more entertaining.

Also, in case I don't get around to posting another entry today, the word for this entry is news.

march11
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

Quiz: What Kind of Liberal Are You?

My Liberal Identity

You are an Eco-Avenger, also known as an environmentalist or tree hugger. You believe in saving the planet from the clutches of air-fouling, oil-drilling, earth-raping conservative fossil fools.
 

Take the quiz at
About.com Political Humor


This works for me.

march11
neonvincent: For posts about cats and activities involving uniforms. (Krosp)

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As any of you who have reading my journal for any length of time have probably figured out, I have deeply ambivalent feelings about drum and bugle corps. On the one hand, I loved it dearly and was a great fan of it. On the other hand, it ended up treating me badly, and I had to walk away from it because I realized that it was bad for me. The same could be said about the women I dated who marched in drum corps, particularly the last one, who I was with for 10 years, but that's another story.

In any event, I am still nostalgic for the activity (admiring it from afar isn't as hazardous to my mental health as actually being involved) and regularly follow goldsmith1210's series about the top 50 drum and bugle corps of the past 40 years on YouTube. His most recent video included one of my favorite performances, the 2000 Boston Crusaders, which reminded me that it was in one of my playlists. It also reminded me that I had written one of my favorite reviews of that performance as well.

With that, I present Boston Crusaders' 2000 show "The Color Red" along with my reviews.



An amalgam of two reviews behind the cut. )

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
march11

Not all the census data reported the day before yesterday (or yesterday, if you're west of Chicago) was bad. The city of Rochester, MI, which is literally right up the street from me, grew 21.8% during the past decade. This wasn't a complete surprise to me, as a couple of my students had told me that business that had been in Royal Oak and Ferndale had moved to Rochester and that the city was the next hot place around here, complete with a booming and walkable downtown. Looks like they were right.

News clip from WXYZ follows.


neonvincent: Coffee Party USA logo from the Facebook page and website (Coffee Party)

Coffee Party Survivor Logo
coffee party logo new

Yes, folks, these are new logos for Coffee Party USA.

The top one is the logo for our Survivor: Trickle-Down Economics video project, which is part of our Coffee Break Campaign to Save America. It's also the current logo on Coffee Party USA's Facebook page. The bottom one was the previous logo on the Facebook page.

Don't worry about the old logo. It's still being used on the website.

Above will be crossposted to the Coffee Party USA communities on Dreamwidth and Livejournal.

Those of you who know that I used to be a huge Survivor fan might think that I had something to do with that first logo. I only helped to suggest the theme. Lots of other people ran with the idea and did the hard work.

Now the badges for this post--Word for the monthly theme and Art for the logo designs.

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neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
Last night, I saw this combination of ad with subject material on Daily Kos. I thought it was both striking and grimly amusing, so I took a screenshot.

Evangelion Ad on Daily Kos

Yes, that really is a banner ad for Evangelion 2.22 juxtaposed against "Japan Nuclear Incident." Google Ads strikes again!

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And yes, all three badges apply, first for the word advertising, second for fictional characters, and third for life imitating art. At least there are no Angels involved in this episode of destruction.
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march11

Australian Broadcasting Corporation via Discovery News: Biggest Full Moon in Decades to Appear This Weekend
Moon gazers are in for a treat this weekend when the full moon will appear 14 percent bigger.
Fri Mar 18, 2011 08:47 AM ET
Content provided by Carl Holm

Romantics, werewolves and other moon gazers are in for a treat this weekend as they witness the biggest full moon seen in nearly 20 years.

But experts are discounting predictions of earthquakes associated with the event.

The moon's orbit is elliptical, and as it follows its path, one side of the ellipse, known as perigee, passes about 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) closer than the on the other side -- apogee.

A perigee full moon appear around 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an apogee full moon.


Discovery News: No Link Between 'Super Moon' and Earthquakes
The 'maximal perigee' tonight has only a minimal effect on seismic activity and cannot be linked with last week's earthquakes in Japan.
Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:50 PM ET
Content provided by Rachel Rice

Despite opinions being dispersed over the Internet that the 'super moon' will lead to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, geologist Bill Burton with the US Geological Survey says that this is unlikely.

"There are just too many factors that go into seismic activity to make that statement," Burton told Discovery News. "I think you'd be hard pressed to see a difference in tectonic activity during different lunar phases."

Severe natural disasters such as the earthquake off the coast of Japan last week can raise questions about all of the factors involved. Research geophysicist Malcom Johnston with the USGS says that blaming such events on the moon's orbit is not a new idea.

"This idea of blaming natural disasters on the phases of the moon goes way back to the Greeks. It has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years," Johnston said.
Above part of Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Supermoon edition) on Daily Kos.
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Following up on my previous posts in my LiveJournal and fandom_lounge on JournalFen on university teams playing Quidditch, a case of life imitating art.



Right now, the video above has more views than either of the videos UCLA posted about their men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament within the same 24 hour period.

UCLA Quidditch

Inspired by the famous "Harry Potter" book and film series, Quidditch is the newest sport to sweep the UCLA campus and the rest of the world. UCLA is actively involved in the International Quidditch Association's Western Regional Division. Learn about this unique sport and its players who made Quidditch a bona fide club sport team at UCLA. "Fantasy becoming a reality does not happen nearly as often as it should."
The video above shows that Eastern Michigan University isn't the only one of my four alma maters that plays organized Quidditch. UCLA does as well. The University of Michigan also has a team Even California State University, Northridge, which has the least school spirit of any of my four alma maters, has a Facebook page for people trying to organize a team.

So, three of my four alma maters have Quidditch teams and the fourth is trying. How about yours?

A less graphics-intense version posted at fandom_lounge on JournalFen.
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Yet another night the post wrote itself.




UCLA squeaks by MSU 78-76. My undergraduate alma mater defeats my favorite grad school alma mater's cross-state rival to stay alive in the NCAA tournament. This is a good day for me during March Madness.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

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Some nights, the posts just write themselves.



#7 Bruins face #10 Spartans in Tampa, FL.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my YouTube subscriptions and saw this video on my recent list. Good thing it's not a Michigan-UCLA matchup; I'd have been conflicted. As it is, I don't have any conflicts at all. GO BRUINS!
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

march11

Continuing with selecting news posts with a common theme out of last week's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday, I am posting three news items about Food. I'm planning on passing them out to my Global Politics of Food class tomorrow as current events and research to discuss. Why not get double duty out of them? After all, I was able to convince my department chair that compiling these articles was a form of professional development. :-)

Articles from Michigan State University and Purdue University about Food Deserts, the causes of the rising prices of food, and the effects of overfertilizing corn grown for ethanol behind the cut. )

I have at most a week on my free paid user trial on LJ. I'd better load up that "all your bouillabaise are belong to us" icon that I'm using here on Dreamwidth there before it runs out. I could use a food icon, there, too.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)



Original at Hysterical Raisins.

And now, some related news.

Detroit News: Snyder reorganizes energy, labor department, gives it new name

Lansing— Gov. Rick Snyder today announced a major reorganization of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth that will include a new name — the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

"By consolidating its core functions under one roof and transferring responsibilities that were not compatible to the appropriate agencies, this streamlined department is better positioned to serve its customers while significantly contributing to our overall goal of fostering economic success," Snyder said.
"Its customers" not "the citizens" or even "the taxpayers." Well, it looks like the Tough Nerd is serious about running Michigan like a business. Too bad a state government isn't a business.

So, what did Snyder do with the functions you think are not compatible with the core purpose of the new department, particularly my favorite, energy?

Also moving to the Strategic Fund are the department's energy functions, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Land Bank Fast Track, Snyder said in a news release.
I didn't find the news release, but I did find the executive orders. I'll quote those in a diary on Daily Kos and Michigan Liberal.

Abolished are the Automobile and Home Insurance Consumer Advocate and the position of chief energy officer, both created by Snyder's predecessor, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, in 2008.
I much preferred the old name--it was a recognition of the roles of labor and energy in economic growth. The new name and organizational chart deny these connections. Why, there is no longer a chief energy officer! Hey, folks, way to signal that Michigan no longer has an energy policy! *grump*

Originally posted as a comment on Daily Kos.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

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Still more from yesterday's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday, the body of which concluded with a series of articles on video games from Michigan State University and Indiana University.

Michigan State as a video game design center, Guitar Hero as a way to teach kids to create art, and another installment of 'While the World Burns, Farmville thrives' behind the cut. )

Speaking of the connection between video games and the world burning, the servers for Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, and Metal Gear Online are shut down because of the earthquake and tsunami near Sendai.

As part of the efforts to conserve Japan's electricity usage in the wake of the Sendai earthquake and tsunami, Square Enix and Konami are temporarily shutting down servers for Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, PlayOnline, and Metal Gear Online.

Final Fantasy XI and FFXIV's servers were shut down at 3 p.m. PST on March 13 and are scheduled to be down for a week. In addition, players won't be billed for the April billing cycle. The FFXIV Lodestone site, official game forums, and Square Enix support center will provide updates when available.

Metal Gear Online servers have been down since March 12. Kojima Productions is unsure about when they'll be brought back online.
Those games aren't thriving while the world burns!
neonvincent: For posts about Wisconsin and related activism (Solidarity Wisconsin)
march11

In tonight's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (From Wisconsin to Japan edition) on Daily Kos, I included science-related press releases from eight major public universities in the Midwest. More than half of them had something to say about the earthquake in Japan. Mostly, it was "Got questions? Ask us!"

U of M, MSU, UW, Purdue, and Rutgers offering their experts to the press behind the cut. )

Only one university expressed sympathy--the University of Wisconsin.

Chancellor message to Japanese students, faculty, staff and alumni

I can not tell you how deeply saddened I was to hear of the news of the earthquake and tsunami that has devastated Japan. The effects of this terrible tragedy are beyond comprehension.

Along with the entire University of Wisconsin-Madison community, I hope that you and your families are safe and have not suffered greatly. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all those who have been injured, had their property destroyed, or who have lost their lives.

In times like this, we come together as a community. We are here to assist you and will lend our energy and talents to support you and all of Japan’s recovery.
Wisconsin was also the only one to issue a public statement in which it alerted people back home about the status of its students in Japan.
UW-Madison students in Japan are safe
Campus reacts to international tragedy
March 11, 2011
by John Lucas

In the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami, UW-Madison has confirmed the safety of all of its students studying in Japan.

International Academic Programs has a total of 14 students in programs based at four universities in Tokyo, Nagoya and Sapporo.

As of 5 p.m. Froday, March 11, all students have been reached. Communications were complicated by power and cellular outages. In addition, information about tsunami warnings has been communicated to students studying in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
I have only one thing to say: On Wisconsin!


neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

End of the last mission of Discovery.

march11
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Happy Packzi Day!

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