Thursday, March 21, 2019

Secrets of #WrestleMania rings

[VIDEO] I didn't have a wrestling post this week so, how about a post from WWE's YouTube channel about WrestleMania rings. It's appropriate because we're slowly but surely approaching next month's WrestleMania extravaganza, the grandest stage of them all.

We visit with Mark Carpenter who's been a longtime ring maker for WWE. I saw WrestleMania III last year and he was the one created those carts for the wrestlers which were made to resemble a wrestling ring. Then they found some other work for him especially for WWE's ring.

He created the rings and then made changes to the steel cages for WWE and now he has a regular job with them. He's the one who created the stage - err the ring - for the performers. You see in this video that he's working on a ring with a heating system that will keep the dynamics of the ring as if it's indoors. See at this year's WrestleMania which will be in at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey,  WWE Superstars will be performing out doors. That means they do need a ring that functions like the superstars are performing indoors and I would imagine the weather of New Jersey in early April won't quite be that warm.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

San Juan Capistrano webcam on Virtual Railfan has a sponsor....

[VIDEO] I've posted this live feed from Virtual Railfan over the past year on this blog, and this time it will be something of a permanent presence. The live video camera in San Juan Capistrano, California is being sponsored to remain on YouTube until April 1, 2020. I first saw a IG post announcing this however below I will post a tweet to this effect.

How I could term this? Well for those of us who may not be so ready to go to California like right this minute and check out the scenes from this Golden State train station without having to go there. I know there's a railcam page here, however, this has always been my favorite live feed. You get to see both the local commuter and Amtrak trains pass by.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Economic philosophy of Monopoly

I have a small collection of Monopoly board games at home. I used to play them with my cousins, but haven't pulled them out for years.

Never really appreciated the philosophical aspects of the classic boardgame other than it's very important capitalistic overtones. I never knew it has "left-wing" roots and some have termed it as more "Georgist" as it's underlying philosophy.

Regardless until I read the article from the Washington Post which was published back in 2015, I never knew it had a longer history than when the game first became popular during the Great Depression.
To Lizzie Magie, a 30-something single woman working as a stenographer in Washington at the turn of the century, the monopolists who controlled banks, railroads and oil fields seemed almost impossible to challenge.

But, night after night, Magie drew and redrew a board game that she hoped would be a teaching tool for her left-wing political ideals and spark changes that would ease the economic injustices of society. In 1903, she walked into a patent office and applied for a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game, today known to millions as Monopoly.

An impassioned follower of political economist Henry George and his single-tax theory, Magie designed the game to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” she wrote in a 1902 issue of the Single Tax Review.
BTW, it's funny how through social media old articles come alive years after the fact. I thought this was a recent article, but know it's only at least four years old. Interesting

Puppies and model trains

[VIDEO] I've really enjoyed Jim Zimmerlin's videos of his model train collection. It's probably how I discovered his YouTube channel two years ago. I wouldn't be able to make an offer on his G-Scale model trains especially the Amtrak train he has.

Today he's combined videos of model train with German Shepherd puppies. Animal videos seem to gain traction on YouTube. We love seeing pets and their owners interact. We could be talking about dogs or cats or adult or puppies and it seems there's an audience for it.

For Zimmerlin, his vids on his cruises and his model trains got the traction for his channel. However, time will tell if this video combing puppies and a model train will itself go viral.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

This is freightening: artificial womb

[VIDEO] I'm just about two years too late for this video, but scientists have figured out how to develop prematurely born lambs in artificial wombs. It was noted in this video that once a premature baby takes a breath of fresh air their lungs stop developing.

I almost feared that they created test-tube lambs and needed them to develop fully in artificial wombs. That is in bags that are connected to tubing that are supposed to represent the umbilical cord from the mother.

In another 3-5 years there will be human testing. Talk about the 21st century with science and technology!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Parents bribing their children into elite schools

[VIDEO] This news broke yesterday and it's quite shocking:
Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and a slew of chief executives are among 50 wealthy people charged in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, federal officials said Tuesday.

Those indicted in the investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," allegedly paid bribes of up to $6.5 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.

"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud," Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said at a news conference.

"There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and, I'll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system either," Lelling said.  
No there should not. Let's continue.

Creating a new Atlanta University out of many...

 Anyone who either currently attends or has attended Clark-Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Morehouse College would have something to say about this proposal to merge the schools of the Atlanta University Center into a new Atlanta University.
With the recent events of so many struggling HBCUs such as Bennett College and Paine College, the AU Center should be seriously considering ways to sustain a more cohesive institution to withstand these types of economic and financial shortfalls.

Clark College and Atlanta University merged out of necessity. Atlanta University, as a standalone graduate school, suffered declining enrollment and its budget was under exigency. Clark was the most logical choice and the school that would benefit the most from a consolidation with Atlanta University.

Fourteen years later in 2002, Morris Brown lost its accreditation due to financial aid fraud, massive debt and embezzlement of public funds. In 2009, Clark Atlanta University was forced to fire 55 faculty members in response to what was deemed a budgetary and enrollment emergency. In the past few years Morehouse College suffered declining enrollment, budget shortfalls, a Moody credit rating drop and declines in national rankings of best black colleges.

These issues did not arise without cause. After the Civil Rights Act of 1968, schools became increasingly desegregated and this in turn made for more competition for the historically black colleges. With the Atlanta University Center schools operating independently, they make themselves increasingly more vulnerable.

The Atlanta University Center, with the right guidance, planning and strategy (not to mention sizable funding) could become the largest most prestigious black college in the country. If they could forego hubris, ego and status in order to look to the future, they could become a new Atlanta University that stands shoulder to shoulder with other city named schools such as New York University, Boston University and University of Chicago.

It would be the Howard University of the South. It's time for the antiquated, some would even say sexist and old-fashioned structure of all male and all female collegiate learning environments to end. This is not to dismiss the great legacy and work these schools have done, but to honor them by charting a new sustainable course where the legacy of these institutions can thrive.

Take the University System of Georgia’s recent mergers and consolidations, for example. The USG has aggressively moved to consolidate several of its state college and universities of recent years. Over the past six years, the USG has merged or consolidated 20 of their public colleges and universities in an effort to streamline and restructure its system of schools as a cost saving measure.
I like the Atlanta University name better than my own comical name ClarSpelHouse University of Atlanta. 😛

Monday, March 11, 2019

"They Shall Not Grow Old"

[VIDEO] Earlier this month I saw the masterpiece that is They Shall Not Grow Old. It's a documentary that features 100 year old footage from the first World Ward - one of two of the most deadly human conflicts fought in the 20th Century.

The beginnings shows men signing up and then being mustered into the armed services of the British Empire and then we get into the true artistic vision of the film. Footage from the battlefield remastered colorized and then set to modern speed as the many soldiers who fought on the western front during that war spoke to us about their experiences.

When I think of silent film often my mind is of people walking around like penguins. How the people move in those early films for my eyes aren't normal motion. Sometimes its the technology of the time also as when cinematographers shoot the moving pictures they're using a hand-cranked camera. Sometimes it might be faster or slower.

The director Peter Jackson - many of you may know him from Lord of the Rings - gives us a featurette at the end of the movie about the process of directing the film. It's absolutely fascinating how much work they did to make this movie. To integrate old interviews with the many soldiers who served on the western front with the century old footage.

It's not an academic look at the war - this is a history film for non-historians. Perhaps someone who saw this movie had relatives who fought in this conflict. My own family had their own connections to the conflict who went to Europe once America declared war on the German Empire. All the same the film allows those old vets who recorded their interviews during the course of the mid 20th century to share their thoughts about the war and why they served and their experiences.

We hear a lot of men say they had a job to do they were professionals and they did it. Some said they had nothing going on at home so they signed up. It wasn't uncommon also to be caught up in patriotic fervor. Some still admitted they were too young to serve but were accepted anyway for service.

What's strikingly familiar with these WW1 vets is that once they got home from the western front, most Brits were ready to turn the page from this conflict. They might have been happy that the vets in their family returned home, but they just seemed to want to forget about the war. I could say it might've been similar to the experience of Vietnam veterans once that conflict drew to a close.

As much as the British citizens were glad that the war was finally over it was all for naught. As history records the harsh treatment of the former German Empire which suffered a change in regime and other economic hardships as a result of a treaty that formally ended the war only lead to another world war. The supposed war to end all wars, didn't do the job unfortunately.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

#WWEFastlane Kickoff

[VIDEO] In roughly half an hour 2019 Fastlane kickoff will commence live on WWE's YouTube channel. There are two matches to take place during the kickoff:
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (Cien Almas)
  • The New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
The PPV Fastlane is the last PPV on the road to WrestleMania is set to start at 7:00 PM ET. Hopefully whatever timezone you're in you set your clocks one-hour ahead last nite.

Also, I hope that you got your free month subscription to the WWE Network

Saturday, March 09, 2019

WSJ: California Home Prices Are Soaring

[VIDEO] Why are housing prices in California rising? So you mean it's not only the use of zoning in some municipalities that limit supply? Or even an attempt at this "green dream" of mandating expensive and higher quality materials to insure energy efficiency?

Well I had better hold off on that Golden State dream. One issue (housing prices) among others (rising homeless population) why living out there will remain a dream.

WresteTalk #WWEFastlane Rumors

[VIDEO] As expected since WrestleMania is next month no title changes are expected. As per usual I plan to post a live feed of the Fastlane PPV.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Where Have All the Black Men Gone?

I'd say we need the Black men now more than ever. We need them to be productive and we need them as part of our families. Via Governing
The single biggest driver behind the absence of many black men is mass incarceration. A few academics have held up ratios of black men to women as a proxy for incarceration. Despite recent declines in prison populations, disparities remain massive. African-American males are imprisoned in state and federal facilities at six times the rate of white men, and about 25 times that of black women, according to figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Black men, underrepresented in the overwhelming majority of neighborhoods, are instead heavily concentrated in relatively few places, and those tend to be home to prisons. We identified 79 such Census tracts with more than twice as many black men as women.

Black men are further subject to high mortality. Homicides drive up rates, along with higher risks of dying from diabetes, kidney disease and sepsis than other men. In all, the latest average life expectancy at birth for black men, 71.5 years as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trails the expectancy for white men by nearly five years and for black women by more than six years.

But mortality and incarceration rates alone don’t explain why so many black men seem to be missing in communities. Alford Young, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, notes that they frequently lack permanent addresses. Women, particularly those with children, are likely to obtain support services, and thus to get counted, while black men are not and may become homeless. Young also says a subset prefers to be mobile and undocumented, mostly stemming from fears of law enforcement. “It’s really a challenge with official counts to make sense of where black men are,” he says.

The ramifications of all this are far-reaching. Partners and families of the “missing men” face a host of negative social and economic consequences, such as a shortage of income and assets. Huge numbers of women have ties to incarcerated family members: One in every 2.5 black women has a family member in prison, more than three times the number for white women, according to a Scholars Strategy Network report. For children, research suggests growing up with an incarcerated parent increases the likelihood of learning disabilities, behavioral problems and other challenges.

But the consequences of all this extend beyond families. The absence of adult males means fewer constructive relationships for local children and fewer resources for communities in general. “It’s not simply large numbers of men not being present around their children or their partners,” Young says, “but what it means in a community context to be invisible.”
Another subject I'd like to tackle more are subjects that are important to Black men.

BTW, it brings to mind a piece in 2017 where Black men were considered the "white people of Black people". If Black men are missing in our communities is there really "Black male privilege"?

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Prager U: Capitalism vs. Socialism

[VIDEO] Right now, it seems socialism has been getting the attention as of late with a young congresswoman from New York with the initials AOC. And then US Senator Bernie Sanders who is said to be an avowed socialist is firing up his presidential campaign again for 2020. It seems socialism is such an allure for so many who believes it's a system only based on human need.

What this Prager U video seeks to discuss is the difference between socialism and capitalism.