US Atom Smasher Tevatron Accelerates Its Last Particle
Published September 30, 2011
The "God particle" may have to wait.
The Tevatron, a once-cutting edge Chicago-area particle accelerator run by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and played a key role in the quest for the Higgs Boson or "God particle" was shut down for the last time Friday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. EDT.
"We're thinking of it as if we're pulling the plug on our favorite uncle," said Roger Dixon, who heads the accelerator division at Fermilab, on Thursday.
Helen Edwards, the lead scientist for the construction of the Tevatron in the 1980s, terminated the final store in the Tevatron by pressing a button that activated a set of magnets that steer the beam into the metal target. Edwards then pushed a second button to power off the magnets that have been guiding beams through the Tevatron ring for 28 years.
A live broadcast of the event began at 1 p.m. EDT, allowing Fermilab staff and fans to watch the broadcast, hosted by Fermilab Director Pier Oddone.
“Many exciting measurements and discoveries were made here which helped finalize the model by which we explain the behavior of elementary particles,” Dmitri Denisov, a Fermilab scientist, told FoxNews.com. “That’s over 1,000 papers published, over 1,000 Ph.D.s defended along with the participation of 40 countries around the world.
There's plenty of research to keep Fermilab at the cutting edge, Fermilab's physicists claim. Denisov said he has plenty of data to analyze, enough to keep him busy for the next year.
There are also efforts to build a new accelerator to study the universe in a new way — by producing the most collisions, rather than the most powerful. The accelerator also would be capable of producing neutrino beams more intense than anywhere else to help study the particles that scientists theorize helped tip the cosmic scales toward a universe made of matter.
"The idea is to look for things that happen very rarely, and the way to find them is to create lots of examples and see if you find something," said Steve Holmes, who's in charge of the new venture, called Project X. The proposal could cost up to $2 billion, but it has no funding yet.
By early next year, Fermilab hopes to be able to conclude from Tevatron data that either the Higgs boson does not exist or that it's still a plausible theory. Even if there's evidence of the Higgs boson, it would have to be confirmed -- and that would probably happen in Switzerland.
“A large fraction of U.S. physicists will move to CERN’s LHC, while a substantial number will continue with new neutrino and energy frontier experiments at Fermilab,” Denisov said.
"From the DZero control room, goodbye, and good luck," said Bill Lee, run coordinator for the experiment.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5163 on: Oct 1st, 2011, 07:37am »
New York Times
October 1, 2011, 8:25 am Unleash the Robot Dogs of War By NICK BILTON
In 2007 Boston Dynamics, a robotics company, posted a video online of a robot called the BigDog that could run on any type of terrain like a dog. The video quickly went viral, partly because people were in awe of the robot’s agility and also because it was so scary to watch.
On Thursday, Boston Dynamics showed off its latest robot: the AlphaDog. This new robot is essentially BigDog’s big scary brother. It’s officially called a “Legged Squad Support System,” or LS3, and it is financed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon, also known as Darpa, and the Marine Corps.
According to Boston Dynamics, the AlphaDog can carry up to 400 pounds of gear, while storing enough fuel for a trip that covers 20 miles over 24 hours. The AlphaDog robot also doesn’t need a driver, as it can be programmed to follow a designated leader using computer vision. It can also be programmed to independently travel to specific places using sensors and GPS.
The video shows some of the tricks the AlphaDog can perform, including running over boulders and fallen trees, and galloping like a horse while being aggressively pushed to the side. The most impressive feature is its ability to stand up independently while lying on its side or back. But don’t expect to buy a AlphaDog at your local Radio Shack anytime soon. Darpa hopes to use these robots on the battlefield and in war zones.
Let’s put it this way: if I saw this thing heading toward me in the middle of a battle, I wouldn’t even try to run in the other direction. I’d just fall on the floor in the fetal position and pray.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5164 on: Oct 1st, 2011, 07:43am »
New York Times
September 30, 2011 Wall Street Occupiers, Protesting Till Whenever By N. R. KLEINFIELD and CARA BUCKLEY
A man named Hero was here. So was Germ. There was the waitress from the dim sum restaurant in Evanston, Ill. And the liquor store worker. The Google consultant. The circus performer. The Brooklyn nanny.
The hodgepodge Lower Manhattan encampment known as Occupy Wall Street has no appointed leaders, no expiration date for its rabble-rousing stay and still-evolving goals and demands. Yet its two weeks of noisy occupation has lured a sturdily faithful and fervent constituency willing to express discontentment with what they feel is an inequitable financial system until, well, whenever.
They arrived by design and desire. Or by sheer serendipity.
Like Jillian Aydelott, 19, and Ben Mason, 20. They are a couple, both having taken an indefinite leave from school in Boston to travel across the country, very much on the cheap. Stopping in Providence, R.I., five days ago to sleep at a homeless shelter, they encountered a man who called himself Germ and said he was an activist. He was coming to the protest. They figured why not. They have yet to leave.
Ms. Aydelott’s feeling was: “Nothing is happening. People on Wall Street have all the power.”
The stalwarts seem to range from a relatively modest 100 to 300 people, though the ranks swelled to more than 2,000 on Friday as the protest began to attract mainstream attention from those disaffected with the weak economy and to enlist support from well-known liberals.
The actress Susan Sarandon stopped by, as did the Princeton professor Cornel West and former Gov. David A. Paterson of New York. A widely reported episode last Saturday, when four protesters were pepper-sprayed by a police commander, elevated the visibility of the demonstrators.
On Friday night, many marched to Police Headquarters to criticize what they described as the improper tactics that the police had used against their movement. (The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, has defended the actions by the police, though he has said they will be reviewed.)
Nicholas Coniaris, 35, came to the makeshift village in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street on Friday and will be gone soon. He is from San Diego, a counselor who works with homeless veterans, and was squeezing in protesting while awaiting a wedding he was attending on Saturday. A friend from Japan, a fellow wedding guest, was here as well.
Having brought a tuxedo for the wedding, Mr. Coniaris decided to get extra mileage out of it. He wore it while he stationed himself in the center of the park clutching a coffee cup that said “God Bless,” and a sign that said, in part, “Support the Rich.”
“Just a little something,” he said mockingly to passers-by. “Half a billion dollars. I’m not asking for a trillion.”
After a couple of hours, his cup contained $1.15.
It all began when a Canadian advocacy magazine, Adbusters, posted a call for action on its blog in July. A New York group naming itself the General Assembly, inspired by recent meetings in Madrid, began to hold organizing meetings in Tompkins Square and other public places, leading to a Sept. 17 march near Wall Street. Shooed away from Wall Street, the protesters wound up in Zuccotti Park, which is bounded by Broadway and Liberty Street and has become their base.
Most of the demonstrators are in their teens or 20s, but plenty are older. Many are students. Many are jobless. A few are well-worn anarchists. Others have put their normal lives on pause to try out protesting and see how it feels.
Not all of them can articulate exactly why they are here or what they want. Yet there is a conviction rippling through them that however the global economy works, it does not work for them.
“I’m angry because I don’t have millions of dollars to give to my representative, so my voice is invalidated,” said Amanda Clarke, 21, a student at the New School. “And the fact that I’m graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in loans and there’s no job market.”
Their politics zigzag wildly. An unemployed schoolteacher calls herself a fierce independent, while an employed teacher is a conservative. An anarchist photographer wants libertarianism to be reclaimed by the left.
“This is not about left versus right,” said the photographer, Christopher Walsh, 25, from Bushwick, Brooklyn. “It’s about hierarchy versus autonomy.”
A finance worker walked around with a dollar bill duct-taped over his mouth and carrying a pizza box, on which he had written, “I could lose my job 4 having a voice.” Nikita Nikitovich, 44, a New York Pilates teacher, was working as one of the protest’s media contacts. A 38-year-old bicycle messenger with a head shaved except for a long braid arrived early Friday by bus from New Orleans, and had been waiting for a protest to erupt since Hurricane Katrina. “That’s when we were shown the big picture,” she said.
For all the bedraggled look of the mattress-and-sleeping-bag-strewn camp, it has a structure and routine. A food station occupies the center of the park, where donated meals are disbursed, especially pizza and Popeyes chicken. Sympathizers from other states have been calling local shops and pizza parlors and, using their credit cards, ordering food to be delivered to the park.
There are information stations, a recycling center, a media center where a gasoline generator powers computers. At the east end sits the library, labeled cardboard boxes brimming with donated books: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, legal. There is a lost and found.
A medical station was outfitted with bins holding a broad array of remedies: cough drops, Maalox Maximum Strength, Clorox wipes, bee pollen granules. The main issues have been blisters, including some from handcuffs, and abrasions.
There are also a few therapists. Some out-of-work protesters are depressed. They need someone’s ear.
Elsewhere is a sanitation station, with designated sanitation workers who sweep the park. The park is without toilets, a problem that many of the protesters address by visiting a nearby McDonald’s.
The encampment even has a post-office box, established at a U.P.S. store, and has been receiving a steady flow of supportive letters and packages. Someone from Texas sent a bunch of red bandanas, now draped on the necks of demonstrators. Others have sent camera batteries, granola bars and toothbrushes.
Two General Assembly meetings are held each day to conduct organizational business and work on objectives. “We meet every day to decide what our demands are,” said Hero Vincent, 21, an artist and singer from Charlotte, N.C., who has been here from the beginning.
Not allowed to use amplified sound, the protesters have devised their own means of communication. Each speaker says a sentence, and then everyone else repeats it, so it ripples outward. Decisions must be by consensus. Hand signals convey responses. For instance, holding your palms upward and wiggling your fingers means approval, while holding them downward means disapproval. Level hands mean uncertainty.
People are divided into committees, including town planning, child care, direct action and a de-escalation group charged with keeping things orderly. There have been a few arguments.
When will all this end?
One protester thought when the temperature fell below 50. Others were less sure.
Sid Gurung, 22, a student at the New School who enlisted because he said he was “extremely disappointed and angry that I have no future,” would agree to no timetable. “Our task is important,” he said. “We could be here for months. Our opponents are giants.”
Natasha Lennard and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5165 on: Oct 1st, 2011, 07:46am »
Jeff Conaway's Death Ruled Accidental in Autopsy 8:49 PM PDT 9/30/2011 by Sofia M. Fernandez
The "Taxi" and "Grease" actor died May 27 of "major internal infection."
Taxi and Grease actor Jeff Conaway's death on May 27 was accidental and caused by major internal infection, according to a coroner's report released Friday.
A toxicology test was not conducted on the actor, who had a history of drug problems, because he had been hospitalized for weeks before his death and his blood would have come back clean, Los Angeles County coroner Craig Harvey told the Associated Press.
When Conaway entered the hospital on May 10, he did register opiates and other drugs in his system. He was put into a medically induced coma a week later and taken off life support on May 26.
Conaway discussed his addiction struggles as part of the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew in 2008. He was a team captain for Season 3 of the cable outlet's Celebrity Fit Club in 2006 but struggled and left after three episodes to enter rehab.
Conaway's big acting break came when he was cast at the vain actor/cab driver Bobby on Taxi. He was nominated for Golden Globes in 1979 and '80 but left the show after the third season, though he guest-starred in two episodes during Season 4.
He is perhaps best known for co-starring as Kenickie in the 1978 film adaptation of Grease, in which he's featured prominently in two of the film's most popular musical numbers, which also were released as singles: "Summer Nights," which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Greased Lightnin.'
The actor was notably absent from this year's Emmy Awards' "In Memoriam" tribute.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5166 on: Oct 1st, 2011, 07:56am »
Space Telescopes Reveal Secrets of Turbulent Black Hole ScienceDaily (Sep. 30, 2011)
Supermassive black holes at the hearts of active galaxies swallow large amounts of gas. During this feast they spill a lot of their 'food', which is discharged in turbulent outbursts. An international team of astronomers has revealed some striking features of such an outburst around a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. They found a very hot 'convertor' corona hovering above the black hole and cold gas 'bullets' in hotter diffuse gas, speeding outwards with velocities up to 700 km/s.
Turbulent winds of gas swirl around a black hole. Some of the gas is spiraling inward toward the black hole, but another part is blown away. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
Unlike popular belief, not all the matter around a black hole is swallowed up. A disc of infalling gas forms around the black hole. On the journey inwards the gas and dust emit large amounts of X-ray and UV radiation. This radiation can be so strong that it diverts a part of the gas inflow. It causes winds flowing outward with velocities up to several hundreds of km/s. An international team of astronomers led by Dr. Jelle Kaastra from the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research took the opportunity to observe and map such an extreme environment around one of the brightest supermassive black holes known to us. This 'monster' black hole -- in the distant galaxy Markarian 509 -- has a mass 300 million times that of the Sun.
The Markarian 509 black hole is surrounded by a disc of gas shining bright in ultraviolet light. This emission varies in a synchronised way with emissions observed at the low end of the X-ray band, some 100s of times higher in energy than visible light. "The only way to explain this is by having gas hotter than that in the disc, a so-called 'corona', hovering above the disc," Jelle Kaastra says. "This corona absorbs and reprocesses the ultraviolet light from the disc, energising it and converting it into X-ray light. It must have a temperature of a few million degrees. Using five space telescopes, which enabled us to observe the area in unprecedented detail, we actually discovered a very hot 'corona' of gas hovering above the disc. This discovery allows us to make sense of some of the observations of active galaxies that have been hard to explain so far."
Cold gas bullets
The X-ray spectrum obtained with the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) of the space telescope XMM-Newton is the best obtained so far of such a system. It reveals unprecedented details of its gaseous environment. For the first time it has been possible to show that the outflow consists of at least five distinct components with temperatures ranging between 20.000 to a million degrees. The superb ultraviolet spectrum obtained by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph of the Hubble Space Telescope reveals that the coolest gas in the line of sight towards Markarian 509 has 14 different velocity components at various locations in the innermost parts of this galaxy. Thus far only seven velocity components were identified.
The combined X-ray and UV measurements demonstrate that most of the visible outflowing gas is blown off from a dusty gas torus surrounding the central region more than 15 light years away from the black hole. This outflow consists of dense, cold blobs or gas bullets embedded in hotter diffuse gas. "Even at a distance of 15 light years, the energy released near the black hole manages to blow off gas from the dusty torus that surrounds the disc of infalling gas," Kaastra says.
Signs of cosmic collision
Further outwards, the signatures of the interstellar gas of the host galaxy are seen. That gas is strongly ionised by the central X-ray source: atoms are stripped of some or most of their electrons when illuminated by the powerful flux of X-rays. Even further out, at hundred thousands of light years, the X-ray light shines through gas falling in towards Markarian 509 with speeds of 200 km/s. This gas may point at a collision with a smaller galaxy in the past, that may have triggered the activity of Markarian 509.
Five large space telescopes were involved in this hundred days campaign that took place in late 2009. The heart of the campaign consisted of repeated visible, X-ray and gamma-ray observations with ESA's XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL satellites, which monitored Markarian 509 for six weeks. This was followed by long observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray satellite, using the Low Energy Transmission Grating, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope using the new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. Prior to these observations short snapshots to monitor the behaviour of the source at all wavelengths were taken with the Swift satellite.
The combined efforts of all these instruments and astronomers gave an unprecedented insight into the core of an active galaxy. Right in the middle of the campaign the source went into outburst. The physical changes due to this outburst could be followed over the electromagnetic spectrum from visible light to X-rays.
The international consortium responsible for this campaign consists of 26 astronomers from 21 institutes on 4 continents. The first results of this campaign will be published as a series of 7 papers in Astronomy and Astrophysics, titled Multiwavelength campaign on Mrk 509 (after the jump). More results are in preparation.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5167 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 08:42am »
New York Times
October 1, 2011, 4:29 pm Police Arrest More Than 700 Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge By AL BAKER, COLIN MOYNIHAN and SARAH MASLIN NIR Updated, 3:35 a.m. Sunday
In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The police said it was the marchers’ choice that led to the enforcement action.
“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walkway were not arrested,” Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, said. “Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway, and impeded vehicle traffic, were arrested.”
But many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them, allowing them onto the bridge, and even escorting them partway across, only to trap them in orange netting after hundreds had entered.
“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who marched but was not arrested.
Around 1 a.m., the first of the protesters held at the Midtown North Precinct on West 54th Street were released. They were met with cheers from about a half-dozen supporters who said they had been waiting as a show of solidarity since 6 p.m. for around 75 people they believed were held there. Every 10 to 15 minutes, they trickled out into a night far chillier than the afternoon on the bridge, each clutching several thin slips of paper — their summonses, for violations like disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic. The first words many spoke made the group laugh: all variations on “I need a cigarette.”
David Gutkin, 24, a Ph.D. student in musicology at Columbia University, was among the first released. He said that after being corralled and arrested on the bridge, he was put into plastic handcuffs and moved to what appeared to be a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, along with dozens of other protesters, for over four hours. They headed first into Brooklyn and then to several locations in Manhattan before arriving at the 54th Street precinct.
Men and women had been held separately, two or three to a cell. A few said they had been zip-tied the entire time. “We sang ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ ” said Annie Day, 34, who when asked her profession said, “I’m a revolutionary.” Ms. Day was wearing laceless Converse sneakers: police had required the removal of all laces as well as her belt. She rethreaded them on the pavement while a man who identified himself as a lawyer took each newly freed person’s name.
None of the protesters interviewed knew if the bridge march was planned or a spontaneous decision by the crowd. But all insisted that the police had made no mention that the roadway was off limits. Ms. Day and several others said that police officers had walked beside the crowd until the group reached about midway, then without warning began to corral the protesters behind orange nets.
The scene outside the Midtown South Precinct on West 35th Street around 2 a.m. was far more jovial. Only about 15 of the rumored 57 people had been released, but about a dozen waiting supporters danced jigs in the street to keep warm. They snacked on pizza. One even drank Coors Light beer, stashing the empty bottles under a parked police van. When a fresh protester was released, he or she ran through a gantlet formed by the waiting group, like a football player bursting onto the field during the Super Bowl. “This is so much better than prison!” one cheered.
“It’s cold,” said Rebecca Solow, 27, rubbing her arms as she waited on the sidewalk, “but every time one is released, it warms you up.”
The march on the bridge had come to a head shortly after 4 p.m., as the 1,500 or so marchers reached the foot of the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the bridge, just east of City Hall.
In their march north from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan — headquarters for the last two weeks of a protest movement against what demonstrators call inequities in the economic system — they had stayed on the sidewalks, forming a long column of humanity penned in by officers on scooters.
Where the entrance to the bridge narrowed their path, some marchers, including organizers, stuck to the generally agreed-upon route and headed up onto the wooden walkway that runs between and about 15 feet above the bridge’s traffic lanes.
But about 20 others headed for the Brooklyn-bound roadway, said Christopher T. Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who accompanied the march. Some of them chanted “take the bridge.” They were met by a handful of high-level police supervisors, who blocked the way and announced repeatedly through bullhorns that the marchers were blocking the roadway and that if they continued to do so, they would be subject to arrest.
There were no physical barriers, though, and at one point, the marchers began walking up the roadway with the police commanders in front of them – seeming, from a distance, as if they were leading the way. The Chief of Department Joseph J. Esposito, and a horde of other white-shirted commanders, were among them.
Ozier Muhammad/The New York TimesPolice secured some protesters’ hands with plastic ties. After allowing the protesters to walk about a third of the way to Brooklyn, the police then cut the marchers off and surrounded them with orange nets on both sides, trapping hundreds of people, said Mr. Dunn. As protesters at times chanted “white shirts, white shirts,” officers began making arrests, at one point plunging briefly into the crowd to grab a man.
The police said that those arrested were taken to several police stations and were being charged with disorderly conduct, at a minimum.
A freelance reporter for The New York Times, Natasha Lennard, was among those arrested. She was later released.
Mr. Dunn said he was concerned that those in the back of the column who might not have heard the warnings “would have had no idea that it was not O.K. to walk on the roadway of the bridge.” Mr. Browne said that people who were in the rear of the crowd that may not have heard the warnings were not arrested and were free to leave.
Earlier in the afternoon, as many as 10 Department of Correction buses, big enough to hold 20 prisoners apiece, had been dispatched from Rikers Island in what one law enforcement official said was “a planned move on the protesters.”
Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”
Mr. Ben-Ami said he left the walkway and joined the crowd on the road. “It seemed completely permitted,” he said. “There wasn’t a single policeman saying ‘don’t do this’.”
He added: “We thought they were escorting us because they wanted us to be safe.” He left the bridge when he saw officers unrolling the nets as they prepared to make arrests. Many others who had been on the roadway were allowed to walk back down to Manhattan.
Mr. Browne said that the police did not trick the protesters into going onto the bridge.
“This was not a trap,” he said. “They were warned not to proceed.”
In related protests elsewhere in the country, 25 people were arrested in Boston for trespassing while protesting Bank of America’s foreclosure practices, according to Eddy Chrispin, a spokesman for the Boston Police Department. The protesters were on the grounds and blocking the entrance to the building, Mr. Chrispin said.
Natasha Lennard, William K. Rashbaum and Elizabeth A. Harris contributed reporting.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5169 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 11:59am »
Uploaded by BraveManNewWorld2 on Sep 29, 2011
Ancient Aliens season 3 episode 10 HD
For thousands of years, there have been places around the world considered dangerous to humans. Might these locations hold the key to an otherworldly connection? At Australia's Black Mountains, local myths speak of ancient serpent gods and hikers disappearing. Every year hundreds are drawn to a dark forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan--to commit suicide. What causes these places to be evil? Could there be evidence that past extraterrestrial activity lead to the negative energy in Earth's evil places?
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5170 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 12:04pm »
In the Freedom Barber Shop, Tony Bravo helps fellow veterans heal
Tony Bravo — a.k.a. the Dreamer — once tended to the Westside elite in a succession of salons. But he felt called to serve a different clientele.
By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times 4:28 PM PDT, October 1, 2011
They amble in with overgrown manes and beards, looking as if they've spent the night on the street. Some of them have.
Eyes downcast, they climb three metal stairs, duck through the doorway and sink into the black vinyl chair, where the proprietor begins to snip. By the time he has brushed their necks with talc and patted their cheeks with clove-scented after-shave, they could pass for anyone's impeccably coiffed father or brother or uncle.
In reality, they are veterans whose haggard faces reflect the psychic scars of service in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan and of their ongoing battles with addiction, grief and pain.
The Freedom Barber Shop, a star-spangled trailer anchored in a parking lot on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus, is their haven. Barber Tony Bravo, a.k.a. the Dreamer, is their shaman, helping to heal them with clippers, corn-pone humor and Patsy Cline.
Few people understand the plight of homeless veterans the way he does. Like many of them, he served in the military. And, although he owns what he describes as a 200-acre cattle ranch in Benson, Ariz., the Dreamer lives several days each month on the street, voluntarily, in Los Angeles — in solidarity, he says, with the rootless vets he meets and in memory of his unfettered youth.
"Don't let them know you're hurting," he advises his fellow gypsies. "The key is to stay invisible."
Apples and oranges
Starting in the 1970s, Bravo owned a succession of San Vicente Boulevard salons that catered to a different clientele: the Westside elite. Political movers and shakers, venture capitalists and film honchos shelled out $100 or more for a cut and styling. Today, the Dreamer is much more likely to take payment in apples or oranges, or a ball made of rubber bands.
Outside his 1950s-vintage Terry trailer, a barber pole stands before an American flag. The 28-foot vehicle is painted with red, white and blue stripes and blue stars. Camouflage spatters and netting decorate one end.
"Command Post" reads a sign over the door. "NO SMOKING. EXPLOSIVE AMMUNITION" says another. A blue awning shades a couple of picture windows, one of which showcases a sign featuring two neon peace symbols and proclaiming "Peace! Victory!"
The trailer's interior is an ever-evolving exhibition of objects, many of them mystically or patriotically themed and donated in lieu of tips. A poster shows Native Americans cradling weapons: "Homeland Security, Native Americans, Fighting Terrorism Since 1492." There's also a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley in his Army uniform.
Bravo's typical work ensemble includes a western-style navy shirt with white piping and stars (naturally) and the word "Dreamer" embroidered across the back in hot pink. He wears cuffed and faded jeans over polished two-tone wingtips that resemble spats, like something Fred Astaire might have worn. The shoes are two sizes too big, to allow for multiple pairs of socks for comfort and warmth as he makes his nighttime rounds.
His black, wavy hair is slicked back and combed close to his scalp over his brown, weathered face. To amuse himself and his customers, he sometimes wears yellow-lens goggles and a black Billy Jack hat — after all, he says, he's half Yaqui and half Apache.
On a recent afternoon, Tom Walton stepped into the Freedom Barber Shop wearing a red straw cowboy hat over long, straggly hair. The 62-year-old Navy veteran had spotted a flier for free haircuts at the VA and stopped by without an appointment. It was his lucky day. The Dreamer was in.
"I don't want a Marine haircut," Walton said as he settled into the barber's chair.
With the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream" playing over the sound system, the Dreamer went to work.
Walton, a self-described alcoholic with missing teeth, told the Dreamer he once worked in the mortgage business, making as much as $12,000 a month, before the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and '90s.
In 1975, he said, he watched as a friend on the deck of an aircraft carrier "got squeezed like a grape" when a helicopter toppled onto him. Today, Walton lives on about $3,100 a month from a military pension and payments for post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been homeless for much of the last eight years.
The Dreamer put the finishing touches on Walton's haircut and turned the chair so that he could see his reflection.
"When you look in the mirror, what do you see?" the Dreamer asked him.
"Tom Cruise," Walton replied.
A life under the stars
Anthony Bravo Esparza was born in 1944 in Corona. As a youngster, he said, he picked tomatoes with his father, napping under oak trees, bathing in canals and sleeping under the stars at night.
"To me, it was like heaven," he recalled. "I was good for $10 a day, 40 boxes of tomatoes by 2 in the afternoon." One day truancy officers called a halt to his outdoor lifestyle, saying it was cruel and inhumane for a child. "To this day I have contempt for that observation," he said. "It was a beautiful time and place."
Unable to read or write, he entered school, wearing scruffy, oversize clothes from an Army surplus store. Children toting Hopalong Cassidy and Flash Gordon lunch boxes made fun of him.
According to California National Guard records in Sacramento, he joined the guard in 1965, training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., where as a private he received a citation for "outstanding accomplishments in physical fitness." He was among the troops called up to help bring order to Watts during the 1965 riots. After six years of service, he was honorably discharged as a specialist in 1971.
After Bravo established himself as a stylist in Brentwood just blocks from the VA campus, he began getting visits from vets. Word spread that he gave free haircuts to those in need. Several years ago, he contacted Marianne W. Davis, chief of voluntary service for the West Los Angeles VA, and said he was a semi-retired veteran who wanted to give back.
It was kismet. He arrived as the VA was struggling to find funds to cover its $35,000-a-year contract for barber services. Each month, the Dreamer provides 100 to 150 free cuts to veterans. In exchange, he gets to park his trailer on campus and take in paying members of the public, including many of those well-heeled fellows who frequented his San Vicente salons.
"He's an awesome fixture on campus," Davis said. "The vets all come out of there feeling kind of uplifted … and looking so cool. He listens to them and lightens their burden a little bit."
The trailer's down-home atmosphere works its magic on the wealthy guys, too.
"He treats everybody exactly the same, whether millionaire or homeless," said Berge Kipling "Kip" Hagopian, a venture capitalist who migrated from Bravo's salon to the trailer.
"He's a very good barber," said director-producer Roger Corman, who was thrilled to rediscover his old stylist from the boulevard at the VA campus.
Not all of the Dreamer's clients are ambulatory. Some are confined to the VA hospital. When they can't make it to the trailer, he packs his shears and goes to them.
One recent morning, the Dreamer visited Victor A. Goldbaum, 54, of La Puente in his four-bed room at the VA hospital. Cancer in Goldbaum's spine left his legs paralyzed. The Dreamer leaned over the back of the former Army specialist's raised hospital bed and began to clip Goldbaum's locks. "How about the eyebrows and ears?" the Dreamer asked. "That's one thing guys in captivity don't see. Nostrils, eyebrows, ears. Engineers have hairy ears."
Goldbaum smiled at his barber's banter.
"President Lincoln said: 'Never underestimate the power of a haircut,'" the Dreamer said. "Intellectuals say he never said that. Well, he should have."
When he locks the trailer each evening at dusk and ventures out to the boulevards of Brentwood, the Dreamer wears layers of denim and fleece topped by his "New York coat," a long, dark wool garment that falls almost to the ground. "It's going to be a long night, a cold night," he said one recent unseasonably chilly evening. "This is the time of the evening where it's hardest."
He sleeps no more than an hour at a time on a stoop or behind a tree, striving to stay out of sight of all but the other sidewalk ramblers.
If he wants to hang out undisturbed in a 7-Eleven parking lot, he wears a shirt bearing the convenience store's logo. "People think I'm an employee," he said. "It's all part of staying invisible."
To keep onlookers guessing, he alters his gait. "There's the old-man gait, the wounded-warrior gait, the power gait," he said. "If people see a guy limping, it can be a defense. They figure he's already messed up."
At a coffee shop on San Vicente at Barrington Avenue, he greeted Jon Wyninegar, 63, a homeless veteran who had lost half his tongue to mouth cancer. The Dreamer asked how he was doing and offered some encouraging words.
"We look out for each other," the Dreamer said. "Regiments need to stick together."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5171 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 12:14pm »
Opposition to lobbyist gift ban rule begins to gather among trade groups By Kevin Bogardus 10/02/11 06:00 AM ET
A number of business groups who host trade shows are speaking out against a new regulation that would ban lobbyists’ gifts for all federal workers.
The proposed regulation from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) would expand a lobbyist gift ban first authorized by President Obama from just political appointees to all government workers.
Watchdog groups have praised the proposed rule but several on K Street are frustrated that the Obama administration is targeting them once again.
Business groups’ lobbyists worry the proposed rule could lead to government workers not attending the trade shows and conferences they host every year.
Don Erickson, director of government relations for the Security Industry Association (SIA), said his trade group plans to lobby against the proposed rule.
“This is going to become a huge priority for us. We are strongly opposed to this for a number of reasons,” Erickson said. “We believe it is discriminatory against trade associations who offer this type of programming.”
SIA’s member companies are made up of electronic and physical security companies.
By “programming,” Erickson is referring to a number of events and trade shows hosted by the security industry, such as the SIA Government Summit, where Erickson stressed government workers are not lobbied but attend conferences and seminars to better learn their craft. The security trade group works with a number of federal agencies, such as the Homeland Security Department, the Defense Department and the General Services Administration.
Under the proposed rule, government workers could not attend events hosted by lobbying groups for free.
There are some exceptions to the gift ban for groups who have registered to lobby, such as 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups, media companies acting in their news-making capacity, institutions of higher learning and professional associations that help with job training. Further, federal workers can attend any event hosted by a lobbying group if they are expected to speak at the event.
Yet trade groups note that OGE made a point that trade associations are not exempt from the proposed rule since their primary purpose is not education but lobbying.
“Trade associations may sponsor educational activities for their members and even the public, but the primary concern of such associations generally is not the education and development of members of a profession or discipline, which is the focus of the proposed exclusion,” OGE said in its proposed rule.
“It's great that you can have a government speaker there but I do think you are depriving other government employees from being there and learning,” Erickson said. “We don't view these sessions as lobbying but rather as educational. It seems like we're getting caught up in some kind of lobbying reform when there has been no evidence that any problem exists with educational sessions.”
Like SIA, other trade associations are critical of the proposed rule.
“Good policy doesn’t come from a vacuum,” said Stephanie Craig, communications director for TechAmerica. “It’s vital for government to meet with as broad an audience as possible, including the critical voice of industry directly and through trade associations, to understand what it takes to ensure jobs and economic prosperity.”
Craig said the tech trade group opposes the proposed regulation and is considering filing a comment.
TechAmerica’s concerns follow strong words from another major tech trade group.
In a Sept. 20 statement, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), criticized the proposed rule. The trade association owns and operates the International CES, the massive tech trade show held each January in Las Vegas that government workers often attend.
“The present White House restrictions on political appointee participation is embarrassing, problematic and not helpful to our hosting responsibilities. It also hinders efforts to expand travel to the U.S. Extending this requirement to career civil servants would deny government employees the ability to learn about what is happening in business, forge relationships and understand how their actions impact jobs-creating businesses,” Shapiro said. “I cannot understand why the administration would seek to further segregate business and government when we need and must have economic growth and job creation.”
A CEA spokesman said the group will file a comment on the proposal.
Business groups are not the only ones worried about the proposed regulation. Government employees will be affected as well and at least one federal worker union has offered some criticism of the rule.
In a statement to The Hill, Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), said the federal workers’ union is continuing to analyze the proposed rule.
“Our initial view is that the proposed rule may be overly broad and should be clarified,” Kelley said.
NTEU — which represents workers in several major federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission — plans to file a comment on the proposal before the Nov. 14 deadline.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5172 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 12:17pm »
by Jerry Jonas UFO mavens descending on Philly Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:26 pm
It’s difficult to flip through the list of cable TV channels today without coming across at least one that’s running a documentary on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
While admittedly some of these documentaries and their seemingly frivolous claims stretch the bounds of credibility, a few of them do present arguments buttressed by reputed eyewitness testimony of UFO sightings that even so-called experts can’t refute.
While many skeptics will ridicule any mention of UFOs, there is a wide range of individuals from just about every country on earth that takes them very seriously.
The witnesses include not only average citizens, but two former U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Carter reported seeing what he described as a UFO in Leary, Ga., in 1969. Reagan claimed he saw a UFO from the window of a small airplane as it approached Bakersfield, Calif., in 1974.
Later this month, an impressive number of those who take UFOs very seriously will travel from various parts of the country and congregate for a weekend conference in Philadelphia to discuss the subject and present their evidence of this strange phenomena.
Among them will be highly credentialed military and airline pilots, engineers, astronomers and physicists, as well as average citizens who have investigated sightings or claim to have seen UFOs.
The conference is being sponsored by the Pennsylvania branch of the Mutual UFO Network, MUFON, a national organization whose stated mission is “the systematic collection and analysis of UFO data, with the ultimate goal of learning the origin and nature of UFO phenomena.”
I’ve been personally aware of and wondered about the UFO phenomena for more than 60 years.
It was an article in the January 1950 issue of True magazine titled “Flying Saucers are Real” that first brought the subject to my attention.
At the time, I was 19 years old and working at my first real job as a copyboy at the Philadelphia Daily News. Throughout the day that the magazine hit the newsstands, everyone in the Daily News’ editorial department seemed to be discussing its sensational conclusions.
The article was authored by Maj. Donald Keyhoe, a retired Marine Corps test pilot who, early in his career, had been an aide to famed airman Charles Lindbergh.
With personal access to various military and commercial airline pilots and friends in the Pentagon, Keyhoe cited various encounters that they had experienced with what they described as strange flying objects that were far superior to any of that era’s aviation technology.
The most spectacular UFO incidents would occur a little more than two years later in July 1952 in the skies over Washington, D.C., when, for 11 consecutive days, groups of UFOs (still unidentified to this day) were witnessed by military and airline pilots and recorded on radar as they swarmed over the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
Keyhoe’s belief was that they had to have come from other worlds, and that the U.S. government was covering this up.
Keyhoe would become the first director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and write five bestselling books on the subject of UFOs.
Under his direction, NICAP would be the first organization attempting to bring public pressure on the U.S. government to reveal what it knew about UFOs.
NICAP’s motto — directed at the skeptics — was a famous quote from Napoleon: “Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.”
The organization would investigate claims of UFO sightings from 1956 until it was dissolved in 1980. Its archive of UFO-sighting case files was subsequently purchased by the Center for UFO Studies.
NICAP’s quest for the truth about UFOs would eventually be taken up by organizations like MUFON.
Over the past half-century, UFO sightings have been frequently reported in the greater Philadelphia area, and particularly in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
On numerous occasions, I’ve listened to the stories of individuals who claim to have been witnesses to these strange occurrences, and in at least a dozen cases, have conducted extensive interviews with them.
To me, several of the accounts were too inconsistent to be accepted as anything out of the ordinary, and were probably just naturally occurring incidents magnified in the teller’s imagination.
Yet there were other examples where multiple witnesses to a single UFO event, interviewed separately and at different locations, had remarkably similar accounts.
While I can’t be certain of what these witnesses actually saw or experienced, I’m convinced they were not lying or even exaggerating.
The accounts were simply too consistent.
I certainly can’t say I ever saw a UFO, yet I did observe something strange while serving in the front lines during the Korean War.
Staring up at a clear, cloudless and starry sky during a lull in the fighting, I noticed a tiny light moving across my front and in a straight line.
Far too high to be a helicopter and far too slow to be a shooting star, I assumed it was a jet aircraft at a very high altitude.
Then something strange occurred.
The light suddenly stopped and made a sharp 90-degree turn. Since no airplane in 1953 was capable of that kind of maneuver, to this day, I still wonder what it was.
Note: The Pennsylvania MUFON conference will be held Oct. 14, 15, and 16 at the Four Points Sheraton hotel at 9461 Roosevelt Blvd. in Philadelphia. Information: 724-836-1266.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5173 on: Oct 2nd, 2011, 9:10pm »
The DARPA session going on in Orlando has included discussions on the impact on religions if and when ET shows up.....
Are Aliens Part of God's Plan, Too? Finding E.T. Could Change Religion Forever
by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE.com Senior Writer Date: 02 October 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. — The discovery of intelligent aliens would be mind-blowing in many respects, but it could present a special dilemma for the world's religions, theologians pondering interstellar travel concepts said Saturday (Oct. 1).
Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.
In other words, "Did Jesus die for Klingons too?" as philosophy professor Christian Weidemannof Germany's Ruhr-University Bochum titled his talk at a panel on the philosophical and religious considerations of visiting other worlds.
"According to Christianity, an historic event some 2,000 years ago was supposed to save the whole of creation," Weidemann said. "You can grasp the conflict."
Here's how the debate goes: If the whole of creation includes 125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each, as astronomers think, then what if some of these stars have planets with advanced civilizations, too? Why would Jesus Christ have come to Earth, of all the inhabited planets in the universe, to save Earthlings and abandon the rest of God's creatures?
Aliens and religion can still coexist
Weidemann, a self-described protestant Christian, suggested some possible solutions. Perhaps extraterrestrials aren't sinners, like humans, and therefore aren't in need of saving. However, the principle of mediocrity — the idea that your own example is most likely typical unless you have evidence to the contrary — casts doubt on this, he pointed out.
"If there are extraterrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too," Weidemann said. "If so, did Jesus save them too? My position is no. If so, our position among intelligent beings in the universe would be very exceptional." Another possibility is that God incarnated multiple times, sending a version of himself down to save each inhabited planet separately.
However, based on the best guesses of how many civilizations we might expect to exist in the universe, and how long planets and civilizations are expected to survive, God's incarnations would have had to be in about 250 places simultaneously at any given time, assuming each incarnation took about 30 years, Weidemann calculated.
Religious food for thought
If God truly became corporeal and took human form when Jesus Christ was born, this wouldn't have been possible, Weidemann said. Rev. Thomas Hoffmann, a protestant pastor in Tulsa, Okla., said that the issues Weidemann raised were "really on target."
"If life is discovered elsewhere, unfortunately we need to have more discussion about it," Hoffmann said. "I think this is a very robust conversation we need to have."
While the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would likely spur profound soul-searching for people of all faiths, many of the world's religions might have an easier time accommodating the knowledge than Christianity, said theologist Michael Waltemathe, also of the Ruhr-University Bochum.
"It seems to be only a problem of Christianity," Waltemathe said. In Islam, for example, Muhammad was a prophet, or messenger of God, not God incarnate, so additional prophets could have simultaneously visited other planets to save extraterrestrial species, he said. And Hindus already believe in multiple deities, so accommodating more to guard over alien civilizations may not be difficult.
Ultimately, though, the discovery of intelligent aliens isn't likely to pose a serious crisis for Christianity, either, Hoffmann said. After all, the religion has survived challenging scientific revelations before.
"Religion is essentially conservative," Hoffmann told SPACE.com. "You can put almost anything in its face and it's going to shake out a little bit, and then it's going to drop right back down. We've seen this happen historically."