National Outrage

The Conversation About Race
& Police Brutality Has Started

Thousands of protesters took New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, and other major U.S. cities to demand a stop in the all too apparent racist tinge by which law enforcement agents have been consistently targeting black youth in this country.
Americans seem to have finally reached a break point this week, after two white cops, who killed two unarmed black young men, Michael Brown, of Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, of New York’s Staten Island, will not be indicted for their acts.
Acknowledging the growing, widespread mistrust on police departments everywhere, the Justice Department has ordered a review of both cases, but haven’t been able, so far, to dispel the public perception that it’s already behind the curve.
While both cases share similarities aside their obvious racial overtones, there are also glaring differences between them. While witnesses may have offered diverse accounts of how Brown was shot, the fatal chokehold that asphyxiated Garner was captured on video.
Their deaths come at the tail of a long, disturbing string of police killings of unarmed black teenagers, that predates Garner‘s death on July 17, and includes the seven who were killed since August 9, when Brown was shot. To dare saying that this is not about race is just downright absurd.
Obviously, other factors should be also taken into account, from an unprepared and ill trained police force, to an increasing contingent of dispossessed and impoverish minorities in the U.S. Yes, income inequality is a big element underlining these tragedies.
But there’s also a need for a real hard, honest, and open-minded look at race relations in America, circa 2014, which is resembling every day more like the 1960s. We could as well take a page from that book on Civil Rights and check how much that we take for granted, we’ve actually forgotten.
Americans may have finally awaken to the shame of living in the richest country in the world while it’s being turned into a playground for the very wealthy, and a holocaust for those at the bottom, with the shrinking middle class Continue reading

The Other Half of the Sky

Future of Space Travel May
Belong to Female Astronauts

Some two years ago, NASA was looking for a few good astronauts. It found a few good women. In fact, four out of the newest batch of eight space-bound Americans are female, truly a record. Unlike most professions, being an astronaut accurately reflects our demographics.
They may all thank their lucky stars to Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian who became the first woman in orbit 50 years ago last Sunday. As if on cue, Wang Yaping, China’s second female astronaut, has returned to Earth yesterday, after 15 days in space with two others.
Valentina’s launch, two years after Yuri Gagarin’s historical flight, was a second stunning win for the Soviet Union in the early years of the space race. After Godspeed John Glenn, in 1962, it’d take two decades for Sally Ride to, well, ride the Space Shuttle and become the first American female to get there.
As it goes, June seems to be a special time for women in space. Apart from Wang, Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut, went aloft last year on the 16th, the same day as Valentina‘s, while Sally, who passed away last July, boarded the shuttle 30 years ago, on the 18th.

Perhaps mirroring the times, their trips were radically different. Valentina‘s type of orbit is now routinely done by unmanned rockets. Sally rode the no-longer active Shuttle Program, and Wang’s flight is part of China’s ambitious plan to build its own space lab.
Thus, even though our bets are still heavily stacked in the new crop of female astronauts and scientists who may help lift us all to a consistent new program of space exploration, the odds are still against women in space: of 534 space travelers, so far only 57 have been female. So much for demographics.
But let’s not restrict our imagination just yet. When it comes to exploring the physical universe, there’s practically everything to be done. Assuming that we don’t self implode without even trying, within a century we may as well be traveling if not through the stars, then at least among near planets in and outside the Solar System.
It may all start with a quick landing on an asteroid. Then another trip to the Moon, this time not on gossamer wings. A few additional extravagant dreams, and that long haul to Mars, the one-way ticket reserved for a very special breed of not yet born humans, and who, most likely, won’t return to Earth either.
And who’s not to say that on that very open-ended journey, someone may become the first space mother? It’s likely – and even preferable – that nationality won’t be relevant then. Or race. Or, to a certain extent, age. Gender, though, will. And there’s just one that’s been trained on this particular task for 100,000-plus years.

Just the time-frame we need to get used to think, if we’re to vanquish war, climate change, pollution, over population, diminishing natural resources, and, wny not? greed. As a matter of fact, if we do get at least a few of those right, there won’t be really any limits to what we’ll be able to do. Including having a birth in outer space.
Read Also:
* The Red Chronicles
* Sorry, Not a Winner
* Out There

The Food Report

Oregano, Grapefruit, Edible
Wrappers & the End of Pasta

One of civilization’s most precise markings is what we eat and what we don’t. We’re not about to summarize that here, though. But some curious food news did catch our fancy, despite the barrage of sensorial and taste stimuli with which we stuff ourselves as the year closes shop.
We’re intrigued, for instance, with what they’re doing with oregano. Or how grapefruit-haters may have a point, after all. Or that some burger-lovers may eat the wrappers too. Plus a few snacks sprinkled here and there. Oh, and then there’s that bit about pasta.
Even amid the unappetizing news about the world, circa 2012, which, let’s face it, makes us all nauseated, there are some tasty scraps about food to make us feel hungry for more. A little bit of ingenuity may take us a long way, and heaven knows we’ll need to be way more creative from this century onwards.
What, haven’t you heard? It may have taken the world 2.5 million years to reach the seven billion people walking around, but the next billion may happen within less than 20 meager years. We don’t want to sound alarmist, but if you needed a reason for it all to end last week, that wouldn’t be an unreasonable one.
We’re exaggerating but just a bit. Even if the most of the current mix of technology and food has been scarier than the prospect of hordes of the famished roaming the streets, both are already here. The fact is, while this planet has no expiration date, its natural resources can be depleted to extinction.
By the way, do you know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Although both are rich in potassium, magnesium and Continue reading

Sorry, Not a Winner

Congrats, Jackpot Losers. Now
It’s Time to Become an Astronaut

The Powerball beat all records, but in the end, two people who apparently deserved it beat us all out for the $550 million. Good for them. Seriously, we’re glad they got it and all that, sure.
We had a better shot at something else all along, anyway. Like, becoming a movie star. Or giving birth to quadruples. What about finding a four leaf clover? Come on, don’t be such a sore loser.
You knew you couldn’t possibly have a shot. And your Uncle Bob had already told you to never play these big drawings. After all, he’s always winning a few bucks on those scratch games.
He then crosses the street and loses them all on the races, you may say. But hey, you’ve just lost a few of your own, but are already thinking that today just may be your day to take them all to the cleaners.
If you think of it. all the money you’ve already spent in games throughout your life, would amount to a small fortune by now. Which, of course, you’ve have spent on charity, of course, sure.
The truth is, they keep wiping us clean, and we keep on getting back for more. What can you do? You haven’t come up with a counter-argument to what they say: someone must win it, so why not you, right?
You’re too old to apply for International Space Station Commander Sunita Williams‘s position and, let’s face it, you were never good at math, so that should be out. The odds beat are 12,100,000 to 1, by the way.
Movie star? We know it’s your dream, or one of them, but has anyone ever told you that you’ve got the looks? Those who beat the 1,505,000 to 1 odds to become one usually have some kind of looks to boot too.
Ah, so you think that being the U.S. President is easy? Well, besides the 10,000,000 odds of not becoming one, which a poor single-mother Continue reading