Friday, April 25, 2008

Beat the Devil...

The Godfather of Soul and the Prince of Darkness...Clever, clever BMW...And the casting of Clive Owen, Gary Oldman, and Marilyn is brilliant...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nearly extinct to nearly overpopulated in 70,000 years...

Study says near extinction threatened people

From By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Thu Apr 24, 12:04 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Human beings may have had a brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests.

The human population at that time was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought, according to an analysis released Thursday.

The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

"This study illustrates the extraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some of the key events in our species' history," Spencer Wells, National Geographic Society explorer in residence, said in a statement. "Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA."

Wells is director of the Genographic Project, launched in 2005 to study anthropology using genetics. The report was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Previous studies using mitochondrial DNA — which is passed down through mothers — have traced modern humans to a single "mitochondrial Eve," who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago.

The migrations of humans out of Africa to populate the rest of the world appear to have begun about 60,000 years ago, but little has been known about humans between Eve and that dispersal.

The new study looks at the mitochondrial DNA of the Khoi and San people in South Africa which appear to have diverged from other people between 90,000 and 150,000 years ago.

The researchers led by Doron Behar of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel and Saharon Rosset of IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Tel Aviv University concluded that humans separated into small populations prior to the Stone Age, when they came back together and began to increase in numbers and spread to other areas.

Eastern Africa experienced a series of severe droughts between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago and the researchers said this climatological shift may have contributed to the population changes, dividing into small, isolated groups which developed independently.

Paleontologist Meave Leakey, a Genographic adviser, commented: "Who would have thought that as recently as 70,000 years ago, extremes of climate had reduced our population to such small numbers that we were on the very edge of extinction."

Today more than 6.6 billion people inhabit the globe, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The research was funded by the National Geographic Society, IBM, the Waitt Family Foundation, the Seaver Family Foundation, Family Tree DNA and Arizona Research Labs.


On the Net:

The Genographic Project:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My birthday weekend and my favorite DJ is in town...

You know where I'll be chillin'...

Added 5/11/08...
The music was so hittin'...But the location was right in the middle of the LES, and on a Saturday night, it was a pretty mainstream crowd circulating in and out, congesting the space for the dancing...And the circle was takin' up too much room and no one was doing anything after awhile...Kev brought his buddy Glen, and Kev and I tore it up, sweat pouring down our brows...We met a cool kid who partnered up with us and broke up the circle so that people could dance...Haven't had fun like that in a long time...I love you, Skeme...This night was dedicated to Tomoko whose birthday was a week before mine...I heard from Kev (her hubby) that she's coming back on the 27th of this month from Tokyo. YEAH!

What! I'm Listening to...(Part 7)

So yeah, it's been about revisiting the past and selecting music from other times in my life...The Gipsy Kings began in Catalonia and the coast into France, therefore their Spanish is a bit different...They remind me of days spent with an old friend in Cali and now Alex...The guitars are amazing...Damian Marley is probably my favorite of the remaining Marleys...He is socially political, forthright, and brings back a pride to his people that illuminates his Dad's spirit within himself...His whole repertoire is not all heavy, but the following Youtube video, "Confrontation" is...

Bounty Killer is an old favorite who I have found has partnered with many newer acts for his latest album...Checking out some of his latest seleections, I am really not too crazy about that sound, but it's probably just because I'm not crazy about that type of hiphop that is fused into the latest music...Air is the French duo that did the soundtrack to the "Virgin Suicides"...Their ambient style music gives electronica the feeling that the "frisbee never lands"...Puerto Rican Power and Fania All Stars are on the Latin lineup...Alex grew up with the Fania All Stars as they are classic Latin music and his Dad was in the audience from one of their record covers..."Nuestra Cosa", the 70's documentary starring acts such as Fania All Stars on Latin culture in New York is on my Netflix queue...I finally found out who does that song "Bun and Cheese", Robert French...DJ Hurricane's last album, "Don't Sleep" was without too many ties to the Beasties except for background vocals by Adam Horovitz is pretty good...Got a few tracks off it...Cymande, a well-sampled and talented group of musicians who came together in London from Guayana and Jamaica are the roots of rasta soul funk jazz...If you like them, check out Mandrill...The Meters are funky and remind me of chill days as a young kid growing up in the 70's... S.O.U.L. is also recommended, but I haven't found them anywhere yet...For those blues lovers, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells (harmonica playing vocalist) put out a few records in the 60's that are on point...I think I've got the heart for the blues plus I love the harp...Not wanting to forget about you dancehall/ska/reggae heads, I'm diggin' in tha crates for some Desmond Dekker...A new one for ya...Flobots was created by a classically trained violinist and a jazz trumpet player...Okay, even though they did a song for the OC soundtrack, Spoon deserves an honorable mention here, too...The Cool Kids from Illinois is on the hiphop playlist...

Later...Found an old playlist of dancehall...On it are Lt. Stitchie, U-Roy, Big Youth, Dennis Alcapone, Daddy Freddy, Lee Van Cliff, Lone Ranger...

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Latest Juxtapoz Riflings

So, the 25th Anniversary of Thriller has given great inspiration to Ghoulish Gary apparently or at least this artwork is timely (Zombie Art Show), Banksy is seen up and about, a statement perhaps about cavemen and fast food society?, Slick (Ceci N'est Pas Graffiti), Ben Frost (Stupid Crap...I guess MTV is good for something...), Chris Stain goes back to the stencil, David Hochbaum (Tracking Invisible Cities), Alex Pardee (Guilty Smurf) and Kenyon (Pinata...(I know the Juxtapoz description talked about Guantanamo Bay, but pinatas aren't Cuban))...Man, isn't there a lot of Obama art out there?!

Woodworkers of the World Unite Countries...

Carter sets out ceasefire plan in Hamas talks

From By Khaled Yacoub Oweis 2 hours, 15 minutes ago

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter set out plans for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel at a meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Friday.
Carter held more than four hours of talks with Meshaal on Friday in one of the highest-profile meetings between the Islamist group that rules Gaza and a Western figure.

His aides planned to return for further talks with Hamas officials on Friday night, senior Hamas figure Mohammad Nazzal said. Carter's willingness to meet Hamas officials has drawn criticism from Israel and the United States.

The second round of talks would discuss details of proposals put forward by Carter and also examine the issue of the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas.

Hamas was open to the release of the soldier, Gilad Shalit, "but not without a price," Nazzal said. Hamas has previously demanded Israel free hundreds of jailed Palestinians in return for his release.

Nazaal said the discussions with Carter's advisers would focus on the "price and mechanism" for releasing Shalit.

He added that the Carter-Meshaal meeting had discussed important issues, but details were left to their aides to hammer out. Hamas's leadership would need a few days to reach a position on the main issues of Shalit, a truce, and control of crossing points linking Gaza to the outside world.

"This meeting was not a courtesy call, concrete proposals were discussed and we admire Carter for making this effort. The discussions were frank and direct," Nazzal said.


Egypt said on Friday it was making good progress trying to negotiate a tacit ceasefire, including a prisoner exchange, between Israel and Hamas.

Speaking in Washington, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said his government was speaking with both sides to get a "period of quiet," which would help Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to more easily reach a deal in U.S.-mediated Palestinian statehood talks that exclude Hamas.

Carter, 83, brokered the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt when he was president. He is on a Middle East tour to hear views on solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and earlier met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not meet Carter during his visit to Israel this week and Washington has criticized him for his contacts with Hamas, which both the United States and Israel regard as a terrorist group.

Previous efforts by Egypt to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas, whose charter calls for the Jewish state's demise, and Israel involving Shalit, captured by Palestinian fighters in a 2006 raid on Israeli territory, have foundered.

Hamas officials said they preferred to negotiate a prisoner exchange deal through a third party, not directly with Israeli officials.

In a proposal passed to Carter this week, an Israeli cabinet minister offered to meet the leadership of Hamas to ask for the release of the soldier -- a move which would contravene official Israeli government policy.

Carter met two senior Hamas officials in Cairo on Thursday after Israel refused him permission to enter the Gaza Strip, where they live. The two would now come to Damascus for talks with the Hamas leadership, Nazzal said.

Hamas, which is locked in a power struggle with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has offered Israel a conditional truce. The Olmert government has written this off as a ruse that would allow Hamas to rearm and regroup.

(Additional reporting by Sue Pleming in Washington)

(Writing by Keith Weir, edited by Richard Meares)

Carter meets Hamas chief despite US objections

by Ahmad Khatib 2 hours, 49 minutes ago

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Former US president Jimmy Carter on Friday asked Hamas to end its rocket fire against Israel at a controversial meeting in the Syrian capital with exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, the group said.

"Carter suggested a truce and that Hamas should stop its rockets against Israel," top Islamist leader Mohmmed Nazzal told reporters after a five-hour meeting with the former president, whose talks with the group have been strongly opposed by Israel and the White House.

"We support a truce, but Israel should support it too," he said in reference to attempts to halt the bloodshed in Gaza, where 18 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed in the latest explosion of violence on Wednesday.

Carter made no comment after the meeting but Nazzal added that advisors from his delegation and a number of Hamas leaders were to meet later tonight to discuss the fate of Corporal Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by the group and other Palestinian militants in June 2006.

"They will discuss details related to the price and mechanisms for his release, which will not happen without a price," Nazzal said.

Israeli minister Eli Yishai has said he was ready to meet Meshaal to negotiate the release of prisoners held by the Islamist movement, according to Friday's Haaretz daily.

"I am ready to meet with all necessary Hamas members," the newspaper quoted the deputy prime minister as telling Carter during the Israeli leg of his regional tour to promote Middle East peace.

In Israel, Carter met with Shalit's parents and pledged to take up with Meshaal calls for his release.

Carter earlier Friday met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

State news agency SANA later said they discussed the peace process and relations between the two countries.

The two men expressed "their support for dialogue in arriving at political solutions to problems" and considered it important to "mobilise efforts to reduce the suffering of the Palestinians and to lift the (Israeli) blockade" on the Gaza Strip.

Carter is on a nine-day Middle East tour that has already seen him visit Israel, the West Bank and Egypt, where on Thursday he met top Gaza-based Hamas leaders Mahmud Zahar and Said Siam.

That meeting took place in Cairo after Israel barred the former president from visiting the Gaza Strip, which the Islamists have ruled since seizing it in June.

The two Isalmist leaders are due in Damascus on Saturday to "brief Meshaal on their talks with Carter," according to Nazzal.

Israel has snubbed Carter, winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace prize, over his plans to talk with Hamas, which has remained blacklisted as a terror group by the European Union and the United States even after its sweeping victory in 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Washington has said the former president, seen as the architect of the historic 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, is acting in a personal capacity.

In Beirut, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch said Carter's conversations with Hamas leaders risked being "misrepresented."

"We are concerned to advance peace here. We see no intention on the part of Hamas in doing so and there is some risk that these conversations will be misrepresented by Hamas," he said.

But Carter insists he is not acting as a mediator and has been urging talks with Hamas and Syria, saying peace cannot be reached without them.

"I think it's absolutely crucial that in a final dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and that Syria be involved," he said in Israel on Monday.

The Hamas delegation in Cairo also held talks with Egypt's pointman on Palestinian affairs, Omar Suleiman, on Friday and vowed not to return home until negotiations on the reopening of the Gaza-Egypt border bear fruit.

"We gave clear and specific answers to the questions put by the Egyptian side. We expect an Israeli answer within a week... so that we can settle the issue of the Rafah crossing once and for all," Zahar told Egypt's official MENA news agency.

"We are going to sort out all the remaining obstacles in the coming days and will not return to the Gaza Strip until we have so that we can rid the territory of this unjust blockade," he added.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the territory's only one that bypasses Israel, has remained almost continuously closed since the Hamas takeover of last summer.

Militants blew open the border earlier this year but the Hamas authorities resealed it pending an agreement on its formal reopening.

>>I love you Jimmy...Not only is this man a great builder, he is also brave...I think I'm probably one of his biggest fans...I would also like to have a woodshop in my home someday...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey Review...

One of the most tragic and yet brilliant men of another age, an inventor who was way ahead of his time and yet had everything taken away from him, even his wife...Professor Lev Theremin invented the synthesizer years before it came into prominence in the music scene when bands like the Beach Boys used the Theremin sounds to make "Good Vibrations" and Moog was inspired to create his own synthesizers and old black and white sci-fi flicks used the sounds for its soundtracks. All this time credit had been taken away from him. I'd like to give it back to him.