Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Keith Olbermann apologizes to the world for Trump's immigration order

When I was watching the news about Trump's immigration and travel ban and the protests it inspired over the weekend, I thought that Keith Olbermann would have plenty to say about it on Monday.  He did not disappoint.  Here is his On Behalf of America, An Apology from GQ on YouTube.

We are better than this.

Keith didn't say it, but I will.  "Resist.  Peace."

Monday, January 30, 2017

Thousands across Michigan protest immigration and travel ban

The executive order restricting entry from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries, AKA a "Muslim Ban," prompted immediate protests across the country, as CNN reported in Protesters storm airports nationwide.

People gathered at airports around the country to protest President Trump's immigration ban from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Those all happened on Saturday.  Michigan was a little slower to get organized, but Sunday saw protests across the state.  MLive showed the largest in Thousands fill Detroit Metro Airport in protest.

Thousands gathered Sunday afternoon, Jan. 29 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in one of at least four protests statewide to President Donald Trump's executive order to ban entry into the U.S. of people from seven Muslim-majority countries and the entry of refugees.
WXYZ captured even more images showing the size of the protest at the beginning and near the end of Delta planes taking off after system outage.

It was the largest protest, but far from the only one.  MLive listed five more.
There were at least four protests in the Detroit area Sunday in response to the controversial executive order, one in Hamtramck, which has one of the highest concentrations of Muslim residents in Michigan, including many who came from Yemen, one of the countries Trump named in the ban; another at Dearborn's Henry Ford Centennial Library; the largest took place at Detroit Metro Airport's international terminal; and a sit-in was planned at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Protesters gathered in Ann Arbor and planned a demonstration at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids Sunday.
Ann Arbor's was relatively small, as seen in MLive's Ann Arbor residents protest immigration ban.

Ann Arbor residents protested on Jan. 29, 2017, outside the Federal Building against President Donald Trump's executive order limiting immigration. Video by Matt Weigand.
WOOD-TV showed a much better attended protest at Grand Rapids in Protesters at Ford Airport: ‘Refugees welcome’.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Ford Airport to show their disapproval of President Trump’s ban on travel from several nations.
Unlike the other protests, it looks like this demonstration had more participants than the Women's March in Grand Rapids or other Women's Marches in Michigan; the other Women's Marches had tens of thousands attending instead of a few thousand to protest the immigration ban, but some of the same people showed up for both.  The Detroit Free Press noted the overlap, quoting someone who organized the Women's March on Washington as well as the protest at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
"This is where the march became a movement," said Phoebe Hopps, one of the Michigan coordinators for the Women's March on Washington, who also organized Sunday's airport protest. "Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal. We stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers, and reject the path of xenophobia and extreme vetting.”

Hopps, who lives in Traverse City, scrambled Saturday evening for a permit from the Wayne County Airport Authority to stage the protest.
One of the signs from the Women's March also made an appearance, the poster of Linda Sarsour, one of the chairs of the Women's March on Washington.  It works just as well for these protests as for the Women's March.

Now go back to the videos and look for the poster along with hand-made imitations.  I suspect people will see a lot of this image in the near future.  In the meantime, "Resist.  Peace."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Speculative fiction at the 2017 SAG Awards

Last year, I pointed out that Diversity was not a problem at the SAG Awards in contrast to that year's Oscars.  Thankfully, there are no such issues at the Academy Awards this year, so I'll focus on the SAG Awards nominees in speculative fiction, as I have for the People's Choice Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards, and the Golden Globe Awards.*  Consider this my default angle on entertainment every Sunday.

There is one speculative fiction movie being recognized for its acting, "Arrival."  Amy Adams was nominated for Best Performace by an Actress, just as she was for the People's Choice Awards, Critics' Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and even the BAFTA Awards, but not the Academy Awards.  Darn.  I'd hold out hope for her at the Saturn Awards, where I'm sure she'll be nominated, but that electorate is likely to give the award to Felicy Jones for her role in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."  As for the members of SAG, they probably won't vote for her, either.  I expect either Natalie Portman or Meryl Streep will win for their roles in "Jackie" and "Florence Foster Jenkins."  I don't hold out much hope for Amy Blunt in "The Girl on the Train" although Emma Stone might sneak on through for her role in "La La Land."  Hollywood loves (good) movies about itself.

Speculative fiction fared better in the Stunt Ensemble Category, where both "Captain America: Civil War" and "Doctor Strange" were nominated.  I'd be pleasantly surprised if either won.  Instead, I think "Hacksaw Ridge" will win.  Its lead actor, Andrew Garfield, is also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, so the voters might be more favorably inclined to choose it over both the superhero movies as well as "Jason Bourne" and "Nocturnal Animals."

I'm also rooting for another movie about space, "Hidden Figures," even though the film falls under historical fiction and science fact, not science fiction.  The movie was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Octavia Spencer.  I'd be surprised if it wins either, but the film and actress deserved their nominations.

Enough of the big screen.  Follow over the jump for the television nominees.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Year of the Fire Rooster!

Farewell, Year of the Fire Monkey!  It's now the year of the Fire Rooster.  Al Jazeera English has a report on the festivities in China: Celebrations begin for “Year of the Rooster.”

For many workers in China this time of year means a month long holiday.
Saturday will officially mark the beginning of the Year of the Rooster, under the Chinese zodiac.
Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown reports from Beijing.
Even the Chinese can't escape Donald Trump, although caricaturing him as a rooster is a response I appreciate.

Follow over the jump for two videos from TED on the Chinese zodiac for the holiday.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump helps move the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight

I seem to be alternating between hope and doom this week.  Hope appeared in the form of the actions of The Resistance in Marching in Ann Arbor plus other women's marches in Michigan and Resist!  Greenpeace unfurls a banner of encouragement, while doom raised its ugly head in Yesterday was a good day for pipelines, a bad one for environmentalists.  Today, it's not just doom, but DOOM, as Wochit News reports Doomsday Clock Now 30 seconds Closer To The Apocalypse.

Catastrophe is now 30 seconds closer than it was last week, according to the editors for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin has published a graphic of the Clock every year since 1947, when the threat of nuclear war was the biggest threat to humanity. The Bulletin cited several reasons for the decision to change the clock, including a a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, and Donald Trump's entire presidential campaign, where he made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons, while expressing disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.
USA Today quoted the Atomic Scientists on their reasons for the change, and all of them referenced Trump.
While many threats played into the decision to move the clock 30 seconds forward from where it was in 2016, one person in particular prompted the scientists to act.
“This year’s Clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual…as trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise, and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change,” Rachel Bronson, the executive director and publisher of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said in a statement.
"Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter," David Titley and Lawrence M. Krauss of the Bulletin wrote in an New York Times op-ed.
“Current political situation in the U.S. is of particular concern,” Titley of the Bulletin Science and Security Board said. “The Trump administration needs to state clearly, unequivocally it accepts climate change caused by human activity…There are no alternative facts here.”
I've covered the Doomsday Clock twice before and neither time did the actions of a single person get mentioned, let alone play such a prominent role in the decision to move the clock.  That's probably why it was advanced 30 seconds instead of some multiple of a whole minute, which had also never happened before.

Trump has become a unique threat not just to American democracy, but to civilization.  Because of him, trying to stave off collapse and decline means becoming part of The Resistance, so this is now a Resistance blog as well as a Doomer blog.  As Keith Olbermann says, "Resist! Peace."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Resist! Greenpeace unfurls a banner of encouragement

Yesterday, Greenpeace pulled a stunt that made me feel better after becoming despondent while writing Yesterday was a good day for pipelines, a bad one for environmentalists.  CNN has the story in Activists scale crane to protest Trump.

Protesters with the environmental organization Greenpeace hung a large banner from the crane that people could see from the White House lawn.
This action alone has made me a bigger fan of Greenpeace.  Resist!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yesterday was a good day for pipelines, a bad one for environmentalists

Yesterday, this was the news I heard at work: Trump advances Keystone XL, Dakota pipelines.

Native Americans and environmentalists have strongly opposed both projects.
The reaction was swift and predictable, as Newsy also reported Anti-pipeline movements unite against Trump.

After President Trump signed memorandums to move forward on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, activists met at the White House.
Good luck to them.  They'll need it.

It looks like I was both premature in celebrating Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline and right about my original prediction from 2011 that it would eventually be approved.  I'd rather have been wrong.  Welcome to "a dumb idea that's going to hurt Americans."

Yesterday also brought more bad news for people who want information from government, including about environmental issues, as Trump issues gag order for EPA, DOT and others.

The Trump administration has reportedly restricted press access and social media use for some agencies.
Ugh.  This is enough to make me write about the Oscars.  At least I can find good news there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Razzie nominations confirm my guesses as to worst speculative fiction movies of 2016

I made three Razzies predictions last year.  The first was an aside near the end of 'Zootopia' remains on top of the box office for a second week after displacing 'Deadpool'.
I wouldn't be surprised of 'Gods of Egypt' gets nominated for a half-dozen Razzies next year; it looks like their kind of film.
  The second was in the follow-up 'Superman vs. Batman' buries 'Zootopia' in rubble
"Dawn of Justice" may end up with the same kind of dubious distinction "Fifty Shades of Grey" earned--nominated for both an Oscar (Special Effects) and at least one Razzie (Worst Reboot/Ripoff/Sequel).
I tossed the third off in the middle of Speculative fiction movie nominees at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, Part 2.
That's one prediction.  The other isn't about these awards, but the Razzies.  Four of these movies are sequels or remakes and at least two of them will be nominated for "Worst Remake/Ripoff or Sequel."  My money is on "Ghostbusters" and "Independence Day: Resurgence."  "Ghostbusters" will be undeserved as the work of misogynists stuffing the ballot box, while "Independence Day" will deserve the dishonor.
It turns out I called all but "Ghostbusters," which I didn't want to be nominated for a Razzie in the first place.  Wochit Entertainment has the story in Golden Razzies Name And Shame Crappiest Movies, Actors Of 2017.

The Oscars are the most celebrated awards during this season of praise. However, Oscars season also marks the arrival of the annual Golden Raspberry Awards, otherwise known as The Razzies. The Razzies mark the worst movies of the past year. So, which pictures were nominated? According to ScreenRant.com, 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,' 'Dirty Grandpa,' 'Gods of Egypt', 'Independence Day: Resurgence,' 'Zoolander No. 2', and the documentary 'Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party' were deemed the worst of the worst of 2017. And Ben Affleck, Ben Stiller, and even Robert DeNiro got nods for the Worst Actor category. Ouch!
I managed to forecast all the speculative fiction nominees for worst film.  Following the Razzies closely since 2014 has certainly given me a good sense of what the Razzie voters "like!"

As for the rest of the nominations, Entertainment Weekly has those.  I may get back to them.  In the meantime, the Oscar nominees will be out shortly.  I'll be checking to see if "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" gets an Oscar nomination to go along with its eight Razzie nominations as I also predicted.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Marching in Ann Arbor plus other women's marches in Michigan

I concluded Women's March on Washington today, pussyhats optional with this personal note.
Note the mention of Michigan locations mentioned in both of the last two videos.  My wife and I won't be traveling to Washington, but we do plan to attend one of the Michigan events, most likely the one in Ann Arbor.  If so, I'll report on it next week.
My wife did not feel up to marching in Ann Arbor, but I did, so she sent me to march for both of us.  Based on the event's Facebook page, I expected at least 5,000 people, including several of my colleagues and Facebook friends.  I knew their cars would clog up downtown streets and parking structures, so I left early.  It turned out I didn't leave early enough.  The freeway along the north side of town experienced backups, as did the offramp to Main Street, and traffic into downtown was bumper-to-bumper.  Just from that, I could tell that more people would show up than anticipated.

I cruised around the north side of downtown looking unsuccessfully for a street parking space, then meandered downtown to see if there were any in the structures.  I got in front of one that said "FULL."  One car left and the sign said "1 space available."  I pulled in and found that spot.  I then walked to the corner to look at the assembled protesters.  There were so many they were blocking the intersection a block down the street.  I decided that I'd walk to the end of the next block over to see what the crowd looked like from the side.  By the time I got there, they were already marching past where I stood and turning down the street.  I stood there watching and hoping that someone I knew would walk past so I could join them.  Within five minutes, one of them did, so I walked with her the rest of the way.

The march itself was a lot of fun.  The protesters were enjoying themselves, holding up signs and chanting.  They were of all ages.  Near us was a group of cheerleaders who would lead the chants and occasionally move onto the sidewalk and make human pyramids and do stunts.  I said that more protests could use cheerleaders.  My colleague said that this event was a great uniter.  I have to agree.

After 45 minutes of us marching through downtown (and the parade had been going for more than five minutes before I joined it), we arrived at the Diag (University of Michigan's quad), where there was music from a folk band.  It took the rest of the marchers a half hour to finish filing in, nearly filling the space.  I estimated there were about 10,000 people there.  MLive reported an estimate of 11,000.  Either way, more than twice as many showed up than RSVPed on Facebook.

I could type more, but I'll let MLive show what the march and rally looked like.

More than 11,000 people joined the Women's March in Ann Arbor on Jan. 21, 2017. Several people spoke at the rally, including Cindy Estrada of the UAW and U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
That was just one march in Michigan.  Follow over the jump for news about three other events in the state along with Michigan women participating in the Women's March on Washington.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

'Treasures of the Earth' to replace 'The End of Suburbia' in my classes

I know I had promised an entry about the results of the People's Choice Awards for today's entertainment entry, but I woke up this morning and just didn't feel it.  Instead, I'm following up on these asides from 'Inconvenient Truth 2' being released next year.
I just finished showing my students "An Inconvenient Truth" last week.  It's a very good movie, and it's holding up better than "The End of Suburbia," which I've really had enough of for reasons beyond the age of the film.*
*I've become more and more disenchanted with Kunstler.  He's developed a terrible case of "Get off my lawn" over the past couple of years.  I'm less inclined to give his ideas a captive audience in my students.
While I was in Utah visiting my mother and middle sister at the same time President Obama declared Bears Ears National Monument, I watched NOVA's "Treasures of the Earth: Power" on PBS at my mom's house.  Here is the preview.

Drill underground to see the treasures that power our world—today and into the future.
As I watched, I decided this was the video to replace the doomers, including Kunstler.  It's up-to-date, it reinforces my lecture material, it has lots of interesting examples, it's shorter, and it's optimistic.  As I mentioned, ironically enough, in a comment to Kustler's entry Discovery a year ago, "the presentation they really enjoyed was about self-driving cars.  The feedback was that they'd had enough of doom and gloom and wanted something hopeful."  I'm going to give them what they want, which is also what I want.  That's a win-win for us, but a loss for Kunstler.  As I told my students last week, they will be the last ones I subject to Kunstler and the rest of the Prophets of Doom.*

The DVD that I'm ordering from PBS to show to my students beginning this summer has two more shows on it.  Follow over the jump for their previews.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington today, pussyhats optional

Yesterday, I staged my own little protest on this blog with Counterprogramming for The Resistance.  Today is a much bigger demonstration, the Women's March on Washington.  Euronews has a light-hearted report on the event in Best pussyhat forward as America's Women prepare to defy Trump.

It might become the biggest protest event in US history. This Saturday, tens of thousands of people or more are supposed to take to the streets of Washington DC to join the "Women's march", an anti-Trump protest event supporting solidarity for minorities.
The pussyhats will show up in other reports, but not the next one from PBS NewsHour, Women’s March leaders aim for ‘solidarity against misogyny’.

On Saturday, another crowd will gather on the National Mall -- not to celebrate, but to advocate. William Brangham talks with Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, co-chairs of the Women's March On Washington, about the organization’s mission to protect women’s rights, creating a safe space for difficult conversations on sensitive issues and remembering that “we’re all people first.”
Women and men from Michigan are coming to the event.  WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids reported Local protesters head to Washington for women’s march.  Pussyhats make an appearance.

A march likely to have historic turnout will ask President Donald Trump to respect women’s rights as he begins his presidency.
The distinctive pink headgear also appear in WXYZ's More than 100 metro Detroit women heading to Washington for Women's March.

Note the mention of Michigan locations mentioned in both of the last two videos.  My wife and I won't be traveling to Washington, but we do plan to attend one of the Michigan events, most likely the one in Ann Arbor.  If so, I'll report on it next week.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment entry.  I plan on writing on the results of the People's Choice Awards.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Counterprogramming for The Resistance

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann has a simple message for today: Boycott Donald Trump's Inauguration.

Nothing irks Trump more than you not paying attention to him.
I second this emotion.  To assist my readers who agree with Keith and me, I'm posting videos with music that one can watch and listen to instead of watching The Penguin Donald being sworn in as Mayor of Gotham City President of the United States.

First, instead of the Inauguration Parade, watch Marching Bands of the 2017 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.

Recap of the 22 marching bands that performed in the 128th Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on Monday, January 2, 2017.
Next, listen to "The President's Own" play "March of the Resistance" from "Star Wars, The Force Awakens."

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band performs John Williams' Suite from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, transcribed by Paul Lavender, on March 14, 2016, at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. Conducted by Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig.
Finally, instead of listening to the acts in concert, listen to Muse playing "Resistance."

Hoped that helped you ignore the Inauguration.  As Keith says, "Resist.  Peace."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 hottest year globally, second hottest in the U.S.

Every month from January through August (possibly September) this year was the warmest month of the year on record, so it should come as no surprise that CNN reported yesterday 2016: The hottest year on record.

CNN's John Sutter was in Shishmaref, Alaska, to explain how climate change has affected the world this year.
This is the third consecutive year a new average temperature record has been set for the planet.

In addition, Accuweather posted the following infographic.

The hottest year in the U.S.?  2012, followed by 2016, 2005, and 2010.  Four of the last eleven years were the warmest in the nation's history.  Globally, the ten hottest years have all happened since 1998, with nine of them since 2005 and six since 2010.  That's a trend to which I offer the challenge "deny that!"

By the way, it was the warmest year ever in Alaska.  That CNN reported from there is not a coincidence.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sam Wang eats a bug on CNN

Just a few days before the election, Sam Wang tweeted the following statement of confidence in his predictive abilities:

We all know how that turned out.  As for Wang, he was a man of his word and made good on his promise on live television.  CNN showed it as Pollster eats bug after Trump win.

Poll expert Sam Wang said he would eat a bug if Donald Trump got more than 240 electoral votes. President-elect Donald Trump got 290 electoral votes and Wang held up his end of the deal.
His meal wasn't what I suggested...
Eat a mescal worm. They’re already dead, they’re pickled so the are safe and they taste like booze, and they’re an insect, specifically a caterpillar. I’ve eaten them and they’re OK. If you need any help, take a shot of the mescal first.
...but it fits with the recommendation to eat crickets from Entomophagy: Student Sustainability Video Festival 62.  At least it was nutritious and Wang figured out a way to make it tasty while he was eating crow bugs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

'Rogue One' now highest grossing film released in 2016

I made two promises to my readers in Space, both fictional and real, tops weekend box office to begin 2017 as 'Rogue One' edges out 'Hidden Figures'.  The first, whether "Hidden Figures" ended up winning the weekend's box office I covered in 'Hidden Figures' tops the box office for MLK Day plus diversity among Golden Globes winners.  The second was whether "Rogue One" would become the highest grossing film released in 2016, a prediction I made a month ago in the comments to Reactions to 'Rogue One' from critics and stars and repeated in 'Rogue One' has third-highest opening weekend of year, second highest for December.  That came true over the weekend, as Wochit Entertainment reports in 'Rogue One' Passes 'Finding Dory' At 2016 U.S. Box Office.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" continued its massive run at the box office in its fifth week in theaters. According to data at Box Office Mojo, the movie earned more than 3.2 million dollars on Friday at the domestic box office. That pushed the standalone film's domestic total over 488 million dollars. Rogue One is now the Number one-grossing movie of all titles that came out in the U.S. in 2016, beating out Finding Dory, which made 486 million dollars at the box office domestically. Both movies opened to critical acclaim this year.
Box Office Mojo now lists the film as grossing $502 million at the domestic box office.  All that's left of my predictions is the final box office number, which I initially set at $600 million and later followed Forbes' lead and revised down to $540 million.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2017

'Hidden Figures' tops the box office for MLK Day plus diversity among Golden Globes winners

Happy Martin Luther King Day!  I have good news to report on diversity in entertainment this week, unlike last year when I complained about Hollywood's diversity issues for MLK Day.  First, as I promised in Space, both fictional and real, tops weekend box office to begin 2017 as 'Rogue One' edges out 'Hidden Figures', I would report if 'Hidden Figures' topped the box office.  It turned out that it actually edged out "Rogue One" last week and repeated that achievment this weekend, as Wochit Entertainment reported in 'Hidden Figures' Still At The Top Of The Box Office.

The crowd-pleasing NASA drama "Hidden Figures" has topped the box office for the second straight week, while a pair of high-priced prestige releases sputtered. Estimates on Sunday say "Hidden Figures," a tale about African-American mathematicians in the 1960s space race, sold $20.5 million in tickets in North American theaters over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Fox anticipates it will make $25.3 million when Monday is included. In a crowded field that included the "Star Wars" hit "Rogue One," the Oscar favorite "La La Land" and the surprisingly strong supernatural thriller "The Bye Bye Man," several big-name directors flopped.
So far, the movie has been the "good news" I was hoping for in Seasons Greetings from NASA plus NASA on 'Passengers' and 'Hidden Figures'.  In addition to the nominations I listed in December, it just earned a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards last week.  Here's to hoping it gets more nominations at the Academy Awards next week.

Speaking of awards shows, I'm not done with the Golden Globes.  Follow over the jump to watch acceptance speeches for "Moonlight," "Fences," "Black-ish," and "Atlanta."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good news for animals in entertainment on the first Norther!

Happy Norther!  After teasing my readers twice, it's time to celebrate.  First, I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle the conversation between the Archdruid and me about fake holidays.
I'm single-handedly keeping alive a fake holiday called Wester, which is the first Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox.  When I first posted about it, my Discordian friend claimed it for Discordianism.  As far as I'm concerned, it's still a Discordian holiday.
Wester is funny; presumably that was the day that some messiah or other descended from the living?
>I agree, Wester is funny.  As for an anointed one descending from the living, sorry, that wasn't part of the Wester story that I heard.  However, the holiday has its own animal mascot, the Wester Squirrel, which goes around and gathers goodies to hide instead of hiding goodies to pass out like the Easter Bunny.
Druids would likely demand a Souther and a Norther, too, with a Souther Wombat and a Norther Lemming as animal mascots; I'll leave you to decide what if anything they do with goodies.
Ah, but which solstice gets which holiday?  At first, I was not amused by your suggestion, as I thought one parody holiday was enough.  Then I slept on it and not only was I OK with it, I decided that Norther would come after the Winter Solstice and Souther would come after the Summer Solstice.  Why would a lemming visit in the middle of summer?  Norther would usually have little competition for holidays, at least in the U.S., most of the time.  Next year, it would fall on January 15th, the day before MLK Day.  Not a bad three-day weekend!
So that's the story of how I'm celebrating a fake holiday that the Archdruid came up with.  Oh, well, the Norther Lemming approves.

As this is also Sunday, it's time for an entertainment update.   I have just the one for a holiday with an animal mascot.  Follow over the jump.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bees added to endangered species list

I've written a lot about bees on this blog beginning with Discovery News and PhysOrg on colony collapse disorder in 2013 and continuing through Space and sustainability news for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  This week, more news came out about bees, but it wasn't about honeybees and colony collapse disorder.  Instead, it was that the Rusty Patched Bumblebee Is Officially Endangered.  Wochit News reports.

This week it has been declared that the rusty patched bumblebee is endangered in the United States. It is the first bee species to ever be put on the endangered list. The rusty patched bumblebee has seen it’s population diminish significantly over the past 20 years. Tom Melius, the regional director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, stated, “Pollinators are small but might parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world. Without them, our forests, parks, meadows, and scrublands, and the abundant, vibrant life they support, cannot survive, and our crops require laborious, costly pollination by hand.” Environmentalists are ready to fight for the lives of rusty patched bumblebees.
While these are both the first bumblebees and mainland bees to be placed on the endangered species list, they aren't the first U.S. bees on the list.  Last September, several species of Hawaiian bees earned that dubious distinction.  KHON reports in Native bee species now protected under Endangered Species Act.

Seven yellow-faced bee species are now under protection, a first for any bees in the nation.
While these are not honeybees, this is still bad news.

Enough DOOM!  Stay tuned for two entertainment entries, one including the first celebration of the fake holiday Norther on Sunday and one celebrating Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Can you spell triskaidekaphobia for Friday the 13th?

Happy Friday the 13th!  To celebrate today's unlucky day, I'm sharing the Wall Street Journal asking Triskaidekaphobia is Fear of 13, but Can You Spell It?

WSJ's Elva Ramirez takes to the streets of New York to find out how many people know what triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) is - and if they can spell it.
So in Spain, the unlucky day is Tuesday the 13th.  That's not any stranger than Garfield the Cat hating Monday the 13th.

Stay tuned for two more holidays this weekend, the first celebration of the fake holiday Norther on Sunday and Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

National monuments, more of Obama's environmental legacy

There's more to President Obama's environmental record than his actions on climate, energy, and oceans.  The outgoing President has also protected a lot of federal lands as national monuments.  His most recent actions created two of them in Nevada and Utah.  Newsy has the story in Obama declares more land for national monuments.

President Obama officially created the Gold Butte National Monument and the Bears Ears National Monument.
Just as I was in southern California for the Rose Parade, I was in Utah when this news broke and the local media covered the story intently.  KSL provides an example in Fight on over Bears Ears monument in Utah.

Utah's top leaders are seething over President Barack Obama's proclamation Wednesday to designate 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah as the Bears Ears National Monument, vowing to do everything they can to undo the presidential action. Andrew Adams reports.
I'm with the art store owner, both that the monument will be a good thing and that it will last.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

President Obama reflects on his environmental record

Last night, President Obama gave his farewell address to the nation.  I could embed the video, but I decided to post two other videos from the outgoing administration that emphasize the issue I most care about, the environment.  First, The Record: President Obama on Climate and Energy.

This video shows that Obama's mentions of energy and climate in the 2014 State of the Union Address reflected a sincere interest.  I'd like to think his administration made a lasting impact in these fields.

Obama also showed his concern for the environment in Protecting Our Planet Means Protecting Our Ocean, which describes the President's visit to Midway Island mentioned in CNN visits Midway Island to promote documentary on plastic pollution.

President Obama designated the first-ever marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, 4,913 square miles off the coast of New England. "It’s been said that we don’t inherit the Earth from our parents so much as we borrow it from our children."
Thank you, Mr. President, for your efforts on behalf of a sustainable future.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hollywood gets political at the Golden Globes

After reporting on 'Zootopia' being the only speculative fiction winner at the Golden Globes, I noted "there were a lot of political jokes and remarks last night."  NBC News included many of them in Meryl Streep, Jimmy Fallon, Hugh Laurie Get Political At Golden Globes.

Donald Trump was a target at this year’s Golden Globes, with a handful of actors voicing their opposition to his presidency.
That's not all.  Fallon also joked that “What would it be like if King Joffrey had lived?  Well, in 12 days we’re going to find out.”  He isn't the first to make that comparison.  I quoted a YouTube user saying "Donald Trump is Joffrey all grown up."  My response was "I can see the resemblance."

NBC News left out the most salient criticism of Trump in their montage, but the Wall Street Journal featured it in Meryl Streep Criticizes Trump at Golden Globes.

Meryl Streep railed against Donald Trump as she accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. The President-elect later hit back on Twitter against the actress.
Trump may have hated the attack, but many of those in the entertainment industry appreciated it.  MSNBC captured a representative response in Barbra Streisand Sounds Off On Donald Trump.

Legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand joins Chris Matthews to discuss Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech that criticized President-elect Donald Trump.
When I wrote that this blog would "resume its regular programming, which will likely be about entertainment awards shows and coping with the election of Donald Trump," I had no idea I would do both in one post!

Monday, January 9, 2017

'Zootopia' is the only speculative fiction winner at the Golden Globes

I had  high hopes for the speculative fiction nominees in television at the Golden Globes, but was disappointed.  None of them won.  On the other hand, I had more realistic hopes in the movie categories, expecting only a win for 'Zootopia' as Best Animated Motion Picture.  That happened, as Wochit Entertainment reports.*

"Zootopia" has won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Motion Picture at the 74th Golden Globe Awards. The film made more than a billion dollars worldwide, and received critical acclaim, with a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The animated film stars Idris Elba, Jason Bateman and Octavia Spencer. Zootopia beat other highly acclaimed animated films for the award, including Disney's Moana, which starred Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
NBC on YouTube shows the creators accepting their award.

Directors Jared Bush, Rich Moore and Byron Howard accept the award for Best Motion Picture, Animated at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
The positive message about diversity showed up in all the reviews of the movie I quoted in 'Zootopia' remains on top of the box office for a second week after displacing 'Deadpool', so I'm pleased that the movie is being rewarded and the message being heard.

Speaking of being heard, there were a lot of political jokes and remarks last night.  I might get to them in the near future.

*This was the only guaranteed win for a speculative fiction film or show, as all of the nominees qualified.  In fact, it would be difficult for an animated film not to qualify, as the point of animation is to do things impossible in everyday life.  Still, one could imagine a "Simpsons" or "Beavis and Butt-Head" movie or a film based on another television franchise like "Rug Rats," "Archer," "Family Guy," or "Bob's Burgers" not having enough fantastic or futuristic elements to be considered speculative fiction.  Even so, "The Simpsons" has aliens and "Family Guy" has a talking dog, so they, too, might qualify.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Space, both fictional and real, tops weekend box office to begin 2017 as 'Rogue One' edges out 'Hidden Figures'

For today's entertainment feature, I'm revisiting one of the last predictions I included in 'Rogue One' has third-highest opening weekend of year, second highest for December.
I also expect it to finish in the top five movies of the year. In fact, if it brings in only half the gross of "The Force Awakens," it would still be the second highest grossing movie released this year, right behind "Finding Dory."
Wochit Entertainment reports that's exactly where it is in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Wins Box Office Again.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" has now been the number one movie at the box office for four consecutive weekends, earning $21.9 million this past weekend, raising its domestic box office gross to $477 million. The standalone 'Star Wars' installment was nearly ousted from its top spot this week from "Hidden Figures," which opened to $21.8 million. "Rogue One" is now the second-highest grossing film in the "Star Wars" franchise and the second-highest domestic box office earner of 2016.
Two-and one half down, one to go, the last being "I think it might just barely come in first with $600M."  Forbes is not as optimistic about the final number as I was or it used to be, but still confident it will be the top grossing movie released in 2016.
Yes, it’s falling faster than the likes of Sherlock: Holmes: A Game of Shadows and King Kong, and it may even start to act like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies regarding legs. But it will still end next weekend just under $500 million, and it may end up just over/under the $534m (unadjusted) domestic cume of The Dark Knight.

Oh, and with $477 million, it has passed the (unadjusted) domestic total of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. That means it is the second-biggest Star Wars movie ever in North America, behind only The Force Awakens. And it will pass the $486m domestic total of Finding Dory within a few days to become the top domestic hit of 2016.
Looks like the "barely come in first" part of the prediction is secure, even if my original final number was too high.  What's not secure is "Rogue One" ending the weekend in first place, as Business Insider reported in In photo finish, 'Rogue One' wins weekend box office but 'Hidden Figures' shows staying power.
With just an estimated $100,000 difference between "Rogue One" and "Hidden Figures," it's possible that "Hidden Figures" could win out the weekend when final weekend box office figures are reported on Monday.
If "Hidden Figures" ends up winning this weekend's box office, I'll report that news as well.  I already have high hopes for the docudrama, as I wrote in Seasons Greetings from NASA plus NASA on 'Passengers' and 'Hidden Figures'.
Vox has a review of the movie: Hidden Figures, about 3 black women at NASA in the 1960s, is the best kind of historical drama.  That's high praise from Vox.

Speaking of high praise, IMDB lists "Hidden Figures" as having been nominated for  42 awards, including two each at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.  It had also been nominated for three awards at the Critics' Choice Awards, but won none of them.  Still, I expect the film to receive at least one nomination at the Academy Awards for Octavia Spencer or Janelle Monae (more likely Spencer) as Best Actress in a Supporting Role.  If so, I won't have to repeat Hollywood's diversity issues for MLK Day next year.  I'd find that to be a relief, as I want to report good news every now and then.
I won't be writing about diversity in Oscar nominees a week from tomorrow because the nominations won't be announced until January 24, eight days later.  Instead, it might be about Oscar predictions or the best political films and TV shows of the past year.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Driving update for January 2017: Pearl

, I told my readers to expect a driving update today.  That's because Pearl turned over 31,000 miles yesterday.  She last rolled over her odometer on November 8, 2016, 59 days ago.  That translates to an average of 16.95 miles per day or 516.95 miles per standard month.  While that seemed like a lot to me at first, it was still about a third less than the 24.39 miles/day and 743.90 miles/standard month I drove at the last update.  The election being over, meeting frequency decreasing, and school being out all had the effect I expected during the last update of driving less.  In fact, according to the statistics I computed in Double driving update for September, I drove less than I averaged the first year I owned Pearl, 17.41 miles per day and 530.9 miles per standard month.

As for Dez, my wife's car has traveled just over 300 miles since the last update.  I could post two more updates for Pearl before I write one for Dez.

Consequently, my wife and I contributed a lot less to the increased miles driven by Americans than we did the last update.  Here is the latest from the U.S. Department of Transportation via Doug Short.
"Travel on all roads and streets changed by +1.6% (+4.4 billion vehicle miles) for October 2016 as compared with October 2015. Travel for the month is estimated to be 276.0 billion vehicle miles." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.13% month-over-month and 2.9% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up a scant 0.04% month-over-month and up only 1.8% year-over-year.
Here is the graph showing the 12-month moving average.

As for what the future holds, the college will be back in session next week so my driving will increase to slightly more than the average for the first year I owned Pearl.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A show of air power at the Rose Parade

I'm not yet ready to resume this blog's regular programming as I promised yesterday.  Instead, I'm going to share something I saw as part of my travels over New Years, the B-2 stealth bomber flying over southern California.  First, it flew over the Rose Parade.

Here's my angle of an awesome Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, dropping down toward Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, CA. There's no better way to kick off the new year than watching this marvel fly over. I apologize for the overcast and darkness, it's usually very clear for this occasion. For the record, the Parade was held on the 2nd, instead of the traditional January 1, due to a 'never on Sunday' policy. So at upload time, this was recorded just one hour prior.
The plane then cruised over the surrounding area, which is where my mother and I saw it about 1:30 P.M. flying over my sister's house in the western San Fernando Valley.  It circled overhead three or four times before flying back east to Pasadena to pass over the Rose Bowl.

B-2 Stealth Bomber returns for a fly by over the pre-game at The Rose Bowl after previously flying over The Rose Parade earlier this morning.
While I had seen pictures of the B-2 stealth bomber before, I had never seen one in person until Monday.  It was an awe-inspiring sight.  I felt very lucky to have been able to look at it in (relative) peacetime.

The U.S. Air Force wasn't just represented in the air.  The United States Air Force Total Force Band marched in the parade as well.

"Off we go, into the wild blue yonder!"  It's almost enough to make me wish I had been accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy instead of going to U.C.L.A. -- almost.

I'll have more from my travels as the month goes on, including more about the competitive marching bands and drum corps in the Rose Parade, but that will come after the weekend.  Expect a driving update tomorrow and an entertainment feature on Sunday first.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Butterflies: Student Sustainability Video Festival 68

I'm concluding this installment of the series with some natural beauty in captivity, Exhibit Highlights Butterfly's Beauty, Diversity, Value to Ecosystem from Voice of America (VOA) News.

As spring makes its slow return to the hemisphere, the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., is marking the occasion with one of its most popular exhibits - the Live Butterfly Pavilion. Now in its fifth year, the Pavilion is a warm, lush enclosure filled with beautiful flowering plants, in which visitors interact with hundreds of live butterflies, representing species from around the world. As VOA's Julie Taboh discovered, it's an exhilarating experience.
I write a lot about bees, but Monarch butterflies are in trouble, too, as I've mentioned once.  Perhaps I should write more about their plight.

The Student Sustainability Video Festival will return in May or August.  Until then, Crazy Eddie's Motie News will resume its regular programming, which will likely be about entertainment awards shows and coping with the election of Donald Trump.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

NASCAR Green: Student Sustainability Video Festival 67

NASCAR is not considered an environmentally friendly sport.  In fact, its reputation is so bad that James Howard Kunstler has repeatedly derided it as a symbol of what he dislikes about modern America.  That written, its image may not reflect reality, something one of my students shared when he included the following two videos from NASCAR.*

First, NASCAR Green - Sustainability & Responsibility.

That was where the sport was more than four years ago.  NASCAR Green - An Industry Effort shows where it is four years later.

It's corporate PR that shows a contrary view to the conventional wisdom, but it's no worse than a pro-hunting documentary, Trailer Tails on on trucks, or fuel-efficient airliners.  I enjoyed all of them.

*Three years ago, I shared my experience living near a racetrack.
I used to live close enough to Michigan International Speedway that I could not only hear the cars race, I could tell what kind of cars were on the track.  Stock cars produced a low roar, while open-wheel (Indy) cars gave off a high-pitched whine.  I got a good deal of the race experience just from where I used to live, although I never went to the track.  Just watching the traffic, which took nearly 24 hours to clear out, was enough for me.  It was worse than living in Ann Arbor and dealing with football game traffic, and I coped with that for 10 years.  Just the same, I got a bit of dopamine and adrenaline boost just from living near MIS.
Despite my complaining, it was better than the other experiences I listed in Science confirms my opinion of life in the country.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recycling cigarette butts: Student Sustainability Video Festival 66

It's time to resume the Student Sustainability Video Festival after the New Year holiday weekend.  I'm tying the subject of today's videos to a popular New Years resolution, quitting smoking.  However, the videos are not about ending that particular addiction, but instead about reducing the damage smoking inflicts on the environment.  One of my students found a video on that topic, Turning Cigarette Butts Into Park Benches from National Geographic.

Cigarette butts are one of the most common kinds of litter, found everywhere from land to waterways. The tobacco and paper in them will break down, so those can be composted. But the filters contain a plastic, and that can take years to decompose. Yet if the butts are carefully processed, the cellulose acetate can be used to make things such as park benches and pallets. Recycling companies like TerraCycle are also refining their processing methods to create higher-end plastic products.
That's good news worth spreading.

Stay tuned for two more installments of this series.

Monday, January 2, 2017

My favorite marching bands and one drum corps in the Rose Parade today

The New Year's celebration continues, as the Rose Parade is being held today instead of yesterday.  Why?  "Never on a Sunday," that's why!

Last year, the theme of my entry was Michigan marching bands.  There are no Michigan bands in the Rose Parade this year, just like there were none in the Macy's Parade last year, so I'll have to choose another theme.  But first, the Rose Parade 2017 Marching Bands.

List of Rose Parade 2017 Marching Bands:

Arcadia High School – Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band and Color Guard, Arcadia, CA
Bands of America Honor Band (Representing all 50 States) – Indianapolis, IN
Broken Arrow High School – The Pride of Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow, OK
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Industrial No. 3 – Buhos Marching Band, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
Foothill High School – Falcon Marching Band, Henderson, NV
Gifusho Green Band - Gifu, Japan
Grove City High School – The Grove City High School Marching Band, Grove City, OH
Lawrence Township – Marching Pride of Lawrence Township, Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles Unified School District – All District High School Honor Band, Los Angeles, CA
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School – MLK "Kings of Halftime," Lithonia, GA
Niceville High School – Eagle Pride, Niceville, FL
Ooltewah High School – Ooltewah High School Marching Band, Ooltewah, TN
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band & Herald Trumpets – Pasadena, CA
Pulaski High School – Red Raider Marching Band, Pulaski, WI
The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band – Los Angeles, CA
Santa Clara Vanguard – Santa Clara, CA
United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band – MCAS Miramar, MCRD San Diego and Camp Pendleton, CA
United States Air Force Total Force Band - Travis Air Force Base, CA
Westlake High School – Chaparral Band, Austin, TX
In addition to the above, the marching bands of the universities participating in the Rose Bowl, the University of Southern California Trojans and the Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions, will march down Colorado Boulevard.  However, this entry is not about either of them (I don't like either college and will root for PSU only because I dislike USC more).  Instead, it's about four competitive units, Arcadia High School, Broken Arrow High School, Pride of Lawrence Township, and the Santa Clara Vanguard.  Follow over the jump for videos of each of them.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

YouTube Rewind for New Year's Day 2017

Happy New Year!  For the past four years, I've rewound the  year on YouTube.  This year, I'm doing it both to start the new year off right with a happier sendoff to the old year and a medley of good tunes to dance in the new year.  Here's YouTube Rewind: The Ultimate 2016 Challenge.

YouTube Rewind 2016. Celebrating the videos, people, music and moves that made 2016.
I promised "a New Year's Day post that contains more joy and hope both about last year and for the new year" and I think that delivered.

For those who didn't understand the video or recognize the people, it helps to watch the behind the scenes video.  Trust me.

Behind the scenes of YouTube Rewind 2016, the epic year-end celebration of the videos, people, music and moves that made 2016 on YouTube.
The New Year's celebration continues, as the Rose Parade will be held tomorrow, not today.  Never on a Sunday!