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Archive for February, 2011

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ted Simons interviews a shining star in the universe of astrophysics, Neil deGrasse Tyson. The author and host of PBS NOVA ScienceNOW talks about what sparked his interest in the cosmos. Ted also asks what Tyson has against Pluto, the celestial body that was discovered at Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson
(Video hosted on Youtube.)

eil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. Tyson’s professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way. Tyson obtains his data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

In 2001, Tyson was appointed by President Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the US Aerospace Industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations (for Congress and for the major agencies of the government) that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration, and national security.

In 2004, Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a 9-member commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the “Moon, Mars, and Beyond” commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. And in 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which will help guide NASA through its perennial need to fit its ambitious vision into its restricted budget.

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So they’ve made you a star…

Gerry Rafferty, the Scottish singer-songwriter best known for songs like ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ and ‘Baker Street,’ died Tuesday the fourth of january, the Guardian reports. The 63-year-old was hospitalized in November 2010 with liver failure and had been ill ever since.

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Stealers Wheel – Star (1974)
(Video hosted on Youtube.)

orn in Paisley in 1947, Rafferty was the third child of a hard-drinking Irish miner who frequently abused his family. After his father died when he was 16, Rafferty left school to work and play music. After the Mavericks, his first band with school friend Joe Egan, fell apart, Rafferty joined the Humblebums, a folk band that featured future comedian and actor Billy Connolly. The Humblebums went their separate ways after a few albums, Rafferty released a solo album in 1971 and formed Stealer’s Wheel with Egan in 1972. The band’s eponymous debut featured the hit ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ which sold over a million copies and was later featured in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs.’ The group, which had a top 40 hit with ‘Star’ in 1974, disbanded in 1975 after diminishing success and legal troubles.

Gerry Rafferty was a gifted Scottish singer-songwriter. He had two major hits in his career, the first of which was “Stuck in the Middle with You” as a member of the group Stealers Wheel, and the second of which was “Baker Street” as a solo artist. For a more detailed look at his music, I’ll refer you the review of his greatest hits CD Days Gone Down that I posted here in 2006. I suggested at the time that he was probably living quietly somewhere enjoying his low profile, having been largely out of the music business since the early 80s, but I guess the truth is never that simple. Rafferty suffered from a crippling drinking problem that led to divorce, a series of embarrassing public incidents that became tabloid fodder, and ultimately, liver and kidney failure. He passed away at the age of 63.

Stealers Wheel

So they’ve made you a star
Now your head’s in a cloud
And you’re walkin’ down the street
With your feet are off the ground
They read in the press all about your success
They believe every word they’ve been told
After all you’ve been through tell what will you do
When you find yourself out in the cold
Ah tell me Ah tell me
When you appear on the stage
There’s a standing ovation
You really live out your performance
You’re the biggest sensation
You breeze through the door and when you take the floor
You expect to have it all to yourself
After all you’ve been through tell me what will you do
When you find yourself back on the shelf
Ah, tell me Ah, tell me
You breeze though the door and when you take the floor
You expect to have it all to yourself
After all you’ve been through tell me what will you do
When you find yourself back on the shelf
Ah, tell me Ah, tell me

From the album Super Hits Of The ’70s: Have A…Vol. 12

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  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead."
    ~ Albert Einstein (1930)."
  • "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    ~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet."

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