Festo AirJelly

AirJelly's environment is the air. Unlike AquaJelly, the remote-controlled jellyfish AirJelly does not swim through water, but instead glides instead through a sea of air thanks to its central electric drive unit and an intelligent, adaptive mechanism. It is able to do so because it consists of a helium-filled ballonett.

AirJelly's sole source of power is two lithium-ion polymer batteries connected to the central electric drive unit. It transmits the force to a bevel gear and from there to a succession of eight spur gears, which move the eight tentacles of the jellyfish via cranks. Each tentacle is designed as a structure with Fin Ray Effect® . Propulsion of a ballonett by means of peristaltic motion is hitherto unknown in the history of aviation. AirJelly is the first indoor flight object with peristaltic drive. This new drive concept, with propulsion based on the principle of recoil, moves the jellyfish gently through the air.

...Popeye's "well blow me down..."

Bionic Learning Network Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The Blessings Of Dumb Childlike Wonder

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons Comment on the cartoon

Donny Hathaway: This Christmas (courtesy of Soul Sides)
Donny Hathaway (ATCO, 1971/1993)

From the bowels of
Cagle by Garrison Keillor:

It is the blessed Christmas season. But of course you know that. Unless you live ten miles up a box canyon deep in the Wasatch Range with only your dog Boomer and are demented from drinking bad water, you are inhaling Christmas night and day and "Adeste Fideles" is stuck in your head like a five-inch nail.

This Christmas I am in New York for the general dazzlement and variety. On Sunday St. Patrick's was packed to the rafters for 4 p.m. Mass in Spanish, the name "Jesucristo" drifting around the battlements, and a few blocks south the Jane Austen Society was meeting to discuss Christmas in Olde England, and in between, I stopped in a men's store and bought six pairs of red socks. For myself.

Down deep I am selfish and don't like to feel obliged to do what other people are doing -- dancing, leaping, piping, drumming, welcoming the Christ Child with joyful hearts, etc. -- at the times when other people are doing them. This city enables one to leap or pipe pretty much whenever you feel like it, even after 10 p.m. on weekdays.

Yesterday I took my sandy-haired bright-faced daughter to dinner at 9 p.m., which is late for a 10-year-old, and introduced her to the idea of Ordering Whatever You Want, No Matter What Others May Think, and she got the chicken Kiev and for dessert an apple tart as big as a Gideon Bible. She is a good eater. She approached her meal with the quiet devotion that a chicken deserves. She loved the candles, the linen, the silver, the formality. I enjoyed a tiny quail egg poached in a toasted brioche with a dollop of caviar, though, thanks to my upbringing ... READ MORE

+ Christmas Nativity Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Is It Wrong to Talk About Michelle Obama's Body?

Talking Heads: Born Under Punches
(courtesy of Captain Crates)
Remain In Light (Sire, 1980)

No synopsis for this article (eff that/read this one wholly):

AlterNet article by Tamura Lomax, RH Reality Check. Posted November 22, 2008:

A recent Salon article declared 'First Lady Got Back.' Does the piece tap into racist assumptions about black women's sexuality?

The recent cacophonous chorus surrounding Michelle Obama's derriere is undeniably troubling. Yet, to be quite honest, it is also strangely gratifying to me. I recently read Salon's feature piece "First Lady Got Back." Taken aback by the implicit oxymoron between the words, "First Lady" and "Got Back," I sat for hours pondering all that this cluster of words signified. For instance, what does it mean to place "first lady," which designates a "respectable" social position, with "Got Back," a sexist epithet coined by rapper, Sir Mix-a-Lot, in his hot song, "Baby Got Back," in the early 90's? And, what does it mean to inscribe these words onto the body of our very first African American First Lady?

The deployment of both "lady" and "back" can be viewed as problematic. First, discourses about mythologized "ladies" didn't initially include black women. A "lady" was a woman or wife who innately possessed such virtues as delicacy, piety, beauty, politeness and gentleness. Black women, who were not seen as "ladies," "women" or wives, were historically not privy to such designation. Historically speaking, this was a term reserved for white women. And let me just say upfront, this was not necessarily a compliment. As I understand it, "lady" was just as imprisoning as the more derogatory terms used for black female slaves -- just in a different way.

Secondly, there is a long history of discourses regarding harmfully reductive views of black women's "backs." Black women have been pathologized and objectified because of their "backs," which, by the way, come in all shapes and sizes just like those of other men and women. Sir Mix-a-Lot's hit song, "Baby Got Back," was only the tip of the iceberg. The cultural chorus regarding black women's bodies, particularly their fragmented backside, had been singing for centuries. Sir Mix-a-Lot simply joined in. Or did he?

To be sure, the mass production of "Baby Got Back" via radio and television took ongoing essentialist discourses about black female hyper-sexuality to new dimensions. The constant reproduction of the gyrating images became a source of social studies on black female sexuality. This was obviously deeply problematic. However, as stereotypically reductive as this song and video was, in its own way, it also celebrated black women's bodies. Sure, this so-called celebration reproduced every stereotype about black female sexuality possible. And, by fetishizing black women's privates, reduced them to mere objects, namely their butts. This was absolutely damaging. However, it also did something else. Through the process of representation (via video imaging), which presented black women's butts as evidence of stereotypical difference (regarding black female sexuality), many black women, including myself, strangely found a sense of pride in our bodies, specifically our butts. Thus, while Sir Mix-a-Lot (and others) reassigned mythical legacies to our behinds, some black women were re-imagining themselves as subjects with beautiful bodies.

However, it is important to realize that this was not everyone's experience. Nor was it likely the experience of those like Sir Mix-a-Lot who commodified black women's bodies for his own use and enjoyment. Nor is it likely the experience of many of those who have joined in the chorus regarding Michelle Obama's butt. Deployment of terms such as "lady" and "back," without some sort of critical analysis is irresponsible at best, particularly in reference to black women. Even if Obama's butt makes us beam with pride every time her beautiful body sashays center stage, we cannot ignore the effects of the obvious "blackening" of the already historically brimming noun, "lady," when placed together in a title like "First Lady Got Back." There are serious implications to consider here, namely the pathologization of our first African-American "First Lady."

In short, if we are not more careful in our utilization of language and not more forthright in our criticisms of the language of others, we run the risk of reinforcing historical ideals of black female sexual savagery at the highest level. This is very dangerous. So, if Michelle Obama's body makes us proud, why not shape our enthusiasm with a critique of the status quo, which continues to treat her as an object by fragmenting her to her parts? Obama is a subject -- more than a body, and, more than a butt. Inscribing her with words without carefully evaluating their operation first is beyond distressing. It is death dealing. Not just to her, but to all women.

+Luddite In Chief l Why Barack Obama Should Keep His BlackBerry: Slate Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Mein Nuts l Everything You Need To Know About Hitler's "Missing" Testicle

The Small Faces: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (Immediate, 1968)

Below find excerpts from Slate's: And why we're so obsessed the Führer's sex life by Ron Rosenbaum, posted Friday, Nov. 28, 2008, at 7:07 AM ET:

Somebody make it stop. This incessant fixation on Hitler's sexuality, on his alleged perversity. I think it's fair to say that the very apex of cultural stupidity in our era is the compulsive conjunction of Hitler and sex. He was a "predatory" homosexual. He engaged in excretory practices with his underage half-niece. And, one of the most enduring, a myth I thought I had refuted once and for all but that now rears its head again: Hitler had only one testicle.

Isn't it obvious by now what this is about? Our need to prove that Hitler was not "normal," thus not like us, normal human nature thereby exculpated from producing a Hitler. It fills a need to reassure ourselves there is no Hitler potential in human potential. We're off the hook.

But despite the obviousness of it, it just doesn't stop. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Elections

Discover Magazine article by LeeAundra Temescu and published online November 3, 2008 proffers: Humans have a record of screwing up democracy, but we aren't the only species getting in on the act. The following I found intriguing:

  • 2 Humans are not the only ones that vote. When it is time to find a new hive, honeybees vote for the best location, even though they can’t count. After scouts return from casing possible sites, they dance. The bees that dance most vigorously will recruit other scouts until one site wins.
  • 19 Rain can tilt elections. Between 1948 and 2000, for every inch of rain on Election Day in a given county, there was an average 0.8 percent decline in turnout.
Discover... Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


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