Sunday, September 30, 2007

Where did Portland's Pearl District get its name?

The name of Portland's best known art district, The Pearl, suggests urban legend. Perhaps an oyster canning factory once sat amidst the aging warehouses, or Chinese seafarers hid pearls beneath cobble stoned Twelfth Street. Whatever the origin, there's the suggestion of both beauty and ugliness in the name—an elegant gem nestled in a drab, rough shell.

The story goes like this: Thomas Augustine, a local gallery owner, coined the phrase more than 10 years ago to suggest that the buildings in the warehouse district were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists' lofts within were like pearls. "There were very few visible changes in the area," says Al Solheim, a developer who has been involved in many projects in the district. "People would drive by and not have a clue as to what was inside." As local business people were looking to label the growing area—the "warehouse district" or the "brewery district" were two suggestions—an Alaska Airlines writer borrowed Augustine's phrase, according to Solheim. The name stuck.

"Everyone hated it," says Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery owner Rod Pulliam, who opened his gallery 10 years ago. Few other galleries, such as Quartersaw and Blackfish, have histories that go back that far. But many artists lived or worked in the area in loft buildings such as the Maddox on Hoyt Street. Back then, says Pulliam, light industry, vacant buildings, and blue collar cafes outnumbered the galleries and lofts.

Despite initial cynicism about the name, few deny that it's catchy. The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)'s inventive announcement for its 1998 annual Dada Ball included a tuna can with a fake pearl inside.

Saturday, September 29, 2007



Portland, Ore. … Russian pianist Valentina Lisitsa will join Music Director Carlos Kalmar for the Oregon Symphony’s season opening featuring Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

She will replace Horacio Gutiérrez, who has canceled due to illness. Performances are Saturday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, October 1 at 8 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.


Pianist Horacio Gutierrez has cancelled all his engagements through January 2008 due to a diagnosis of primary gastric lymphoma.

"[It] is 90% curable with chemotherapy, which he is undergoing now," his manager, Seldy Cramer, told Playbill Arts. "He plans to return to the stage in January." Cramer has rebooked nearly all of Gutierrez's appearances.

Born in Cuba, Gutierrez received the second prize at the 1970 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the Avery Fisher Prize in 1982. He has performed regularly in the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and currently teaches at the Manhattan School of Music. Noted for his bold but refined renditions of concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, Gutierrez has also given special attention to works by Andre Previn, William Schuman and other American composers.

By Kevin Shihoten
See-Through Frog Bred in Japan
September 28, 2007—For high school students everywhere, this revealing amphibian may be a cut above regular frogs.

That's because the see-through frog does not require dissection to see its organs, blood vessels, and eggs.

Masayuki Sumida, a professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology at Japan's Hiroshima University, bred the frog to be a humane learning tool.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life, as you don't have to dissect it," Sumida told the news agency Agence France-Presse. The scientist announced his research last week at an academic meeting.

Dissecting animals for science has sparked controversies worldwide, even prompting some companies to create computer simulations as cruelty-free alternatives.

Researchers bred the sheer creature—a type of Japanese brown frog—for two recessive genes that make it pale.

Though not yet patented, the frog is the first four-legged, see-through animal to be bred by scientists. Some fish species are also clear.

Only 1 in 16 frogs end up see-through, and Sumida's team has not yet figured out how to pass on the transparent trait to offspring.

—Christine Dell'Amore

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dining in the Slammer

Dining in the Slammer

At a prison restaurant in Italy, meals are prepared and served by inmates.
by Andrea Thompson

If you think getting into some of Paris's hottest restaurants seems hard, then you obviously haven't eaten at Fortezza Medicea in Volterra, Italy. Diners at the high-security prison restaurant (you read that right) have to submit to a background check and receive a security clearance from Italy's Department of Justice to snag a reservation at the 500-year-old facility just outside Pisa.

The restaurant, which is staffed with murderers and thieves, is an experiment in modern-day prison rehab: The idea is that reformed inmates can find work in the restaurant business upon release. (Since the program was launched in March 2006, four convicts have landed food-service jobs in Volterra.) In a cavernous space filled with simple wooden tables and benches, guards stand watch as sommelier Santolo, who's serving 24 years for murder, pours Chianti. In the kitchen, chefs Massimo and Giuseppe prepare mini frittatas served with fennel crisps, nonna Catozza (baked vegetables in a bread bowl), gnocchi with a fava bean purée, and a thick cheesecake garnished with chocolate. They also happen to be doing time for armed robbery and murder.

If you can look past the paper plates and the plastic cutlery, the Southern Italian dishes from Puglia, Sicily, and Naples (all hotbeds of mob activity) are rather delicious. "Several of our inmates have restaurant training, so they're trying to refine their skills," says prison director Maria Giampiccolo. There's even entertainment: Pianist Bruno, a murderer, plays classical music in the background.

Fortezza Medicea also has a theater company; members have performed cabarets and plays by Bertolt Brecht, Jean Genet, and Shakespeare in the jail's courtyard. via del Castello, 011-39/058-886-099,, $34, allow at least two months to get a reservation.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Diners are flocking to what could perhaps be termed the most exclusive restaurant in Italy - one located inside a top security prison, where the chefs and waiters are Mafiosi, robbers and murderers.

Serenaded by Bruno, a pianist doing life for murder, the clientele eat inside a deconsecrated chapel set behind the 60 ft-high walls, watch towers, searchlights and security cameras of the daunting 500-year-old Fortezza Medicea, at Volterra near Pisa.

Under the watchful eye of armed prison warders, a 20-strong team of chefs, kitchen hands and waiters prepares 120 covers for diners who have all undergone strict security checks. Tables are booked up weeks in advance.

The Mafia may be in charge, but there is no horse's head on this menu. Instead, a smart, middle-aged crowd tucks into a vegetarian signature menu, cooked up by head chef Egidio - serving life for murder - and keenly priced at €25 (£17.50), including a glass of wine with each course.

The restaurant opened two months ago and has proved so popular that Italy's prison department is thinking of trying it in other jails.

Baseball Reminiscence

StoryCorps: Recording America
A Bittersweet Goodbye in Brooklyn

Morning Edition, September 28, 2007 · Brooklyn Dodgers fans were devastated when they learned their team was moving to Los Angeles. It was the 1957 season and attendance at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field plummeted.

Harvey Sherman recently came to the StoryCorps booth in New York City to remember how he said goodbye to his favorite team. StoryCorps

Fewer than 7,000 fans turned out for the Dodgers' final home game — played 50 years ago this week. Harvey Sherman was one of them.

"The first two weeks of September, the Dodgers were on the road," he remembers. "They were scheduled to come back to Brooklyn for a makeup game with the Pirates. And that was going to be their last game at Ebbets Field."

To celebrate his 21st birthday, Sherman decided to go to the game. He asked a few friends to come along, but they thought he was crazy.

"You're going to be the only one there," he says they told him. "They're leaving us. The heck with them. We're not interested."

So he went to the game alone.

"The lights were on, the grass was as beautiful as it was the first day of the season," he says. "The players were on the field, but there was no one in the stands. The place was vacant. It was eerie. I could have sat anyplace in the ballpark I wanted.

Gladys Goodding was the organist, and "everything she played was a blue song about losing a lover. And after the game, I remember leaving and she was playing 'Auld Lang Syne,' and then they cut her off in the middle and they put the Dodgers theme song on.

"When I walked out of the Ebbets Field, I stood a block away and just looked back. The lights were still on and I said goodbye. It was over."

Sherman, 71, says he still looks back with bitterness at the team's exit. And for years he refused to go to any ballgames.

"I never thought the Dodgers would leave," he says. "It was like a divorce. You felt like a child in a divorce and that you had no control over what was happening."

"To this day, I miss it terribly. I miss it terribly."

Produced for Morning Edition by StoryCorps senior producer Michael Garofalo. Special thanks to Alex Reisner.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Brush Fires

Samuel Adams: "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."

In Portland, a Golden Age of Dining and Drinking

In Portland, a Golden Age of Dining and Drinking: from the NY Times
To read the article click here.
Kay Ryan, Poet

It's the birthday of the poet Kay Ryan, born in San Jose, California (1945), who went for a 4,000-mile cross-country bicycle trip just before her 30th birthday to take stock of her life. She was somewhere in the middle of Colorado when the rhythmic movement of pedaling got her thinking about the poetry she occasionally wrote in her spare time, and she suddenly decided to devote her life to becoming a professional poet. So she got a job teaching composition at a local college, and made sure that she would only have to teach two days a week, so she could spend all the rest of her time writing. She pared her life down to the barest essentials to live on her meager salary, and for the next couple decades, she lived that way, publishing four books of poetry, including Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983) and Flamingo Watching (1994). Her books got very little attention, and she didn't go out of her way to attract any attention. She was happy to live her private simple life, writing poems.

by Kay Ryan

One does not stack.
It would be like
a mouse on the back
of a mouse
on a mouse's back.
Courses of mice,
layers of shivers
and whiskers,
a wobbling tower
with nothing more
than a mouse inside.

A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime

Wall Street Journal
September 20, 2007

Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.

He motioned to them to sit down. "Make me earn it," he said.

They had come to see him give what was billed as his "last lecture." This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O'Connor recently titled her lecture "Get Over Yourself." At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled "Desire," spoke about sex and technology.

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.
He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be morose, he said, "I'm sorry to disappoint you." He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.

Randy Pausch and his three children, ages 5, 2 and 1.

Clicking through photos of himself as a boy, he talked about his childhood dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry. By adulthood, he had achieved each goal. As proof, he had students carry out all the huge stuffed animals he'd won in his life, which he gave to audience members. After all, he doesn't need them anymore.

He paid tribute to his techie background. "I've experienced a deathbed conversion," he said, smiling. "I just bought a Macintosh." Flashing his rejection letters on the screen, he talked about setbacks in his career, repeating: "Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things." He encouraged us to be patient with others. "Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you." After showing photos of his childhood bedroom, decorated with mathematical notations he'd drawn on the walls, he said: "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."

While displaying photos of his bosses and students over the years, he said that helping others fulfill their dreams is even more fun than achieving your own. He talked of requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. "You'd be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away," he said, but they all rose to the challenge.

He also saluted his parents, who let him make his childhood bedroom his domain, even if his wall etchings hurt the home's resale value. He knew his mom was proud of him when he got his Ph.D, he said, despite how she'd introduce him: "This is my son. He's a doctor, but not the kind who helps people."

He then spoke about his legacy. Considered one of the nation's foremost teachers of videogame and virtual-reality technology, he helped develop "Alice," a Carnegie Mellon software project that allows people to easily create 3-D animations. It had one million downloads in the past year, and usage is expected to soar.

"Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don't get to step foot in it," Dr. Pausch said. "That's OK. I will live on in Alice."

Many people have given last speeches without realizing it. The day before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke prophetically: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place." He talked of how he had seen the Promised Land, even though "I may not get there with you."

Dr. Pausch's lecture, in the same way, became a call to his colleagues and students to go on without him and do great things. But he was also addressing those closer to his heart.

Near the end of his talk, he had a cake brought out for his wife, whose birthday was the day before. As she cried and they embraced on stage, the audience sang "Happy Birthday," many wiping away their own tears.

Dr. Pausch's speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they're older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: "This was for my kids." Then those of us in the audience rose for one last standing ovation.

Write to Jeffrey Zaslow at

For the full video click here.

For the Wall Street Journal follow-up video click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


For Release Sunday, September 30, 2007
© 2007 Washington Post Writers Group

By Neal Peirce

"Vision Zero" -- no more deaths from highway accidents.

The idea was born in Sweden, where it's had spectacular success in reducing traffic fatalities. Now zeroing out all traffic fatalities must become an explicit U.S. and worldwide goal. Otherwise we have no prospect of taming the appalling roadway death toll -- 42,000 lives lost yearly in the United States, close to 1.2 million worldwide.

That's the message of Dr. Mark Rosenberg, founder and former director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

My first reaction was skepticism when I heard Rosenberg make the case at a Global Urban Summit in Italy this summer. But he makes a compelling comparison to global eradication of smallpox -- a stunning public health success. The know-how for a cure -- the vaccine -- had been known for decades, but it took a world-wide commitment to finally control it.

Traffic deaths, Rosenberg insists, constitute an epidemic we can prevent. Sweden has succeeded, driving its yearly toll down to 440, lowest since World War II. Annual traffic-related deaths of children, once 118, sank to 11 at last count.

How did the Swedes do it? Tough seat belt and helmet laws, to be sure. But they've also begun to remake their roadways. Red lights at intersections (which encourage drivers to accelerate dangerously to "beat the light") are being replaced with traffic circles. Four-foot high barriers of lightweight but tough mylar are being installed down the center of roadways to prevent head-on collisions, and as side barriers at critical locations. On local streets, narrowed roadways and speed bumps, plus raised pedestrian crosswalks, limit speeds to a generally non-lethal 20 miles an hour.

Britain, New Zealand and the Netherlands are also registering major success with safety redesign and tough roadway rules. New Zealand cut its death rate by 50 percent in 10 years. But in the United States, we're "stuck," notes Rosenberg, at 42,000 to 43,000 deaths a year, adding:

"If those 42,000 deaths came from air accidents, air traffic would come to a screaming halt, all airports closed until we fixed the problem. But because our staggering numbers of road deaths come in ones and twos, they don't get attention. Fatalism is our biggest enemy."

Across the world, says Rosenberg, road injuries are likely to double by 2020 and could well total 100 million by 2050. The big reason: rapid motorization of India and China, indeed the entire developing world (the capitalistic dream of every automaker from General Motors to Toyota).

Cars and trucks are especially lethal in developing countries as they accelerate on roadways filled with pedestrians, cyclists, jitneys and sometimes farm animals and hand-drawn wagons.

Without the protection of riding in one's own vehicle (our "steel cages," Rosenberg notes), vast majorities of children and adults in such countries face high danger of direct and deadly vehicle impact. In Vietnam, for example, there are almost 3,000 fatalities for every 10,000 crashes.

Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that highway deaths may well pass global death tolls from HIV-AIDS in the next two decades. And the death toll doesn't include serious injuries, which WHO estimates as high as 50 million annually, many resulting in lifelong paralysis and permanent disability.

I asked Rosenberg if Americans have any stake in the developing world's traffic dangers. A "big one," he replied, noting that U.S. business people (engineers and CEOs), soldiers, students, all travel there. Plus, he insists, we could play a huge humanitarian role with our resources and knowledge.

Some developing world cities -- Bogota, Colombia, for example -- have shown it's possible to cut roadway accidents dramatically by rigorous crackdowns on reckless or drunk driving and improved street layouts.

But if developing nations were helped to build their new roads, and remade old ones using technologies like Sweden's traffic dividers, literally millions of lives could be saved, tens of millions of frightening injuries avoided.

Rosenberg, a former U.S. assistant surgeon general and now executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, is making a life cause, helping create a world network to spread the "Vision Zero" concept.

And, he notes, there's been lots of international action since the United Nations General Assembly first debated the issue in 2004. A UN Road Safety Collaboration was brought together by WHO. The World Bank is mobilizing resources to help developing countries in particular. George Robertson of Britain, a former Secretary General of NATO, chairs a new Commission on Global Road Safety (which Rosenberg leads). There's now a push for a 2009 UN Ministerial Conference on road safety -- a first-ever meeting of cabinet level officials from both developing and developed countries to set a global strategy.

"A hundred million lives are at stake," says Rosenberg. "With 'Vision Zero" we have a chance to avoid an unimaginable disaster. It's hard to walk away from it."

The world's only Vision Zero Circuit Visit the Vision Zero Circuit, 33 km of roads and 6 km of streets reconstructed according to the Vision Zero principles. The Vision Zero Circuit was formed in the year 2000-2001 as a part of a national project in Trollhättan, a town with 53 000 inhabitants North of Gothenburg.

The results are interesting in many aspects; the average speed is lower, there are fewer serious accidents and the new solutions are more aestetically appealing.

The project was a co-operation between The National Road Administration, Saab Automobile, The Municipality of Trollhättan, The National Society for Road Safety (NTF), The National Police Authorities, The Västra Götaland Region and The Swedish Association of Local Authorities.

Salt art has tongues a-waggin'

Salt art has tongues a-waggin'

Baker City art lovers marvel over a new contest at the feed-and-seed that shows cows (and horses, goats and deer) are truly worth their salt

Skyler Martin, 17, holds a salt lick on The Dailey Ranch in Keating where he continues a ranching tradition with his father and grandfather. Skyler says his grandpa, Meb Dailey plans to enter The Salt Lick contest but not before he discovers the perfect entry.

BAKER CITY -- As Whit Deschner walked through the woods behind a friend's cabin one afternoon, a weathered salt lick caught his attention. What a curious shape, he thought. Could it be art?

A photographer, farmer and the kind of guy inclined to see the humor in everyday things, Deschner had a hard time getting the question out of his head. That's easy to understand when you consider he lives in rural Baker County, where cows outnumber people 5-to-1. Salt licks -- those blocks of NaCl that ranchers use to supplement the diet of cattle -- are about as common as sagebrush in these parts.

Soon, a plan crystallized. Why not organize an art exhibit featuring the work of cows? Or horses? Even wild elk and deer?

Deschner called a friend who runs a coffee shop near Interstate 84. The friend, who thought salt a fine medium for self-expression, wasn't eager to host such a show because salt and coffee don't exactly go together.

Deschner, a Washington state native who is 53, was not deterred. He phoned a former neighbor who runs a feed-and-seed store, and his former neighbor loved the idea so much, he offered to provide every rancher who brought in a licked salt lick with a new 50-pound block in exchange.

Inspired, Deschner asked a handful of Baker City businesses to donate $50 toward prize money. None turned him down. The winner of the salt lick art contest will receive $200, second place $100 and third $50.

In Baker City, an old gold rush town, news of the contest spread quickly. A poster advertising the exhibit, to be held at the town's Crossroad Art Center, appeared in storefront windows up and down Main Street -- and on the Internet at On the poster the words "Cow Art at its Finest" are superimposed over a photograph of a bull sticking out its tongue.

Rancher Mary Lou Wirth, whose family runs 250 head of cattle in nearby Medical Springs, heard about the contest from a granddaughter whose watercolors of elk hang at the Crossroads gallery. The idea made perfect sense to Wirth. She has often marveled over the strange shapes salt licks can take.

The rules, she saw, were simple:

"All entries must be salt blocks licked by cows or other livestock. Range blocks licked by wildlife will also be permitted. Blocks licked by humans will not be permitted. Licks may be subject to DNA testing. Blocks with human DNA will be eliminated and offenders banned from future contests.

"All entries -- unless you really, really want your salt lick back -- will be displayed at Crossroads Art Center for the month of October. Judging committee will judge blocks for originality and artistic flair."

Wirth, like fellow ranchers of large herds, buys salt licks by the ton and had plenty to choose from: blocks spread over several summer pastures, blocks left upright, blocks knocked over, blocks licked primarily by cows but touched by the occasional wandering wild elk. She chose one, her husband another. Hers she named "Twin Side Delight" because it looked the same on both sides, which struck her as pretty unusual.

The Wirth licks were the second and third to arrive at the Oregon Trail Livestock Supply store in Baker City, which also runs a "Cutest Foal" photograph contest. According to the poster behind the counter, Mark and Stacie Holt won that agricultural competition and received a prize of six bags of Equine Junior.

Soon after the salt lick posters appeared, 10 more blocks, some cradled in bubble wrap and paper towels, arrived at Crossroads Art Center.

One came in named "Cow Lick Cathedral." Another was dubbed "Icnivad." The "One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Brown Bovine Eater" appeared with a poem:
A field of bovine not too smart,

Were told to create a work of art,

Given a salt block to lick,

Each tried to make it slick,

A sculpture emerged -- off the chart!

When not used for poetry and art, salt blocks keep a herd healthy. White blocks are pure salt, red blocks contain added iodine, tan blocks provide selenium and other trace minerals, blue offers cobalt and yellow is spiked with sulfur. "We don't have any of those -- thank goodness," Deschner says. "They stink."

But is a block of salt really art?
Crossroads Art Center director Alyssa Peterson thinks so. She considers them like Marcel Duchamp's controversial "readymade" art.

"As long as you're seeing it as a three-dimensional form, it's no longer a salt block," she says, "it's a work of art."

Deschner hopes others agree. He's accepting entries until Oct. 3, and the show will remain on display until Oct. 24, when the gallery holds a special event and announces the winners. The blocks will then be auctioned and the proceeds will go to Parkinson's research at Oregon State University.

Until then, the licked licks will sit in the window facing Main Street, where they have already attracted stares and stopped passers-by.

If there's any question that salt licks are art, Deschner believes the answer lies in the viewer's response. "I see people walking by and it puts a smile on their face. I think that's what art is supposed to do.

"Isn't it?"

Click photo to enlarge

Larry Bingham:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Green skies?

Green skies: Engineer's work may reduce jet travel's role in global warming

by Hilary Parker
Posted September 13, 2007; 10:10 a.m.

Princeton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Fred Dryer has a lofty goal: end the nation's reliance on oil for jet travel.

With potentially major benefits for energy security and the environment riding upon his success, Dryer is advancing the fundamental knowledge of jet fuels while developing practical, innovative energy sources.

"In order to make alternative jet fuel sources feasible, they need to be compatible with petroleum and produce similar combustion performance," Dryer said. "This will only be possible if we fully understand how both petroleum and alternative fuels burn and design engines based on this fundamental knowledge."

Backed by government and industry grants, Dryer is leading two new research efforts to advance these technologies. The first, a major project funded by the U.S. Air Force, is focused on developing computational and kinetic models that accurately simulate the burning of jet fuel, a complex and poorly characterized mix of chemicals. At the same time, he is putting his basic understanding to use as he develops jet fuels with near-zero net greenhouse gas emissions in a project funded by NetJets, a leading provider of business jets.

The Air Force program is one of the Defense Department's highly competitive Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grants. One of only ten such projects supported by the Air Force this year, the collaboration involves researchers from four institutions -- Princeton, Case Western Reserve University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago. The award, with an overall value of up to $7.5 million, will provide support for three years with the option of a two-year extension. Research began in July and the kick-off meeting for the project will be held Sept. 17 in Princeton.

Dryer and his MURI collaborators, including Princeton Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Yiguang Ju, will develop methods to predict and evaluate how jet fuels will behave in actual engines and characterize the emissions they will produce. While current guidelines specify some overall properties of jet fuels, they do not spell out the actual chemical composition. Depending on the source and processing method, jet fuel typically consists of hundreds to thousands of molecular structures that behave in a variety of ways.

The models developed by the team will represent and characterize the behavior of this broad range of jet fuel species using only a few types of molecular structures as surrogates for the larger whole. Dryer previously developed similar "surrogate fuel" models to represent gasoline, which are now being used for engine design by the automotive industry.

"The composition of fuels changes with the geographic source, the refining process and even with the season," Dryer noted. "Since we have an energy security problem, we need to be sure that alternative fuel sources are going to work and, in order to do that, we need to understand exactly how petroleum-based fuels work alone and in combination with alternative fuels."

Alternative energy sources, if designed appropriately, also could significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses released in creating and burning jet fuel. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, aviation is responsible for around 10 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the nation, or roughly 2.7 percent of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions. The second research program, supported by NetJets, augments Dryer's fundamental MURI work and brings in additional expertise from the Princeton Environmental Institute to develop "greener" alternative fuels.

"NetJets is pleased to be working with the engineers and scientists at Princeton to develop new jet fuels with near-zero net greenhouse gas emissions," said NetJets Chairman and CEO Richard Santulli. "Princeton has a longstanding history of leadership in aerospace science. We feel they will make great strides with this research."

The NetJets-funded research project provides the opportunity to make substantial progress toward the launching of green technologies not only for corporate jets, but also for commercial aviation and transportation in general, according to Robert Williams, a senior research scientist at the Princeton Environmental Institute and member of the NetJets-sponsored research team. At Princeton, the team also includes Ju and Eric Larson, a research engineer at the Princeton Environmental Institute. In addition, the work will involve collaboration with researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis.

Two alternative fuel sources that are the subject of much investigation in the aviation field -- coal and biomass -- present a major quandary to researchers attempting to develop low-emissions jet fuels. Coal, a relatively cheap and readily available source of energy, has an emissions profile at least as harmful as petroleum. Biofuel -- fuel made from plants -- presents an attractive alternative because the carbon dioxide emitted from burning biomaterials will be removed from the atmosphere by a new generation of plants during photosynthesis. The production of biomaterials, however, requires the intensive use of land, limiting the feasibility of widespread production of biofuels.

To take advantage of the positive characteristics of each of these sources, the Princeton researchers will center their efforts on the synthesis of jet fuels from a combination of coal and biomass. A key component of their solution is isolating and storing the carbon dioxide produced during the production of so-called synfuels. This technique, called carbon capture and sequestration, is a promising strategy being investigated intensively by Princeton's Carbon Mitigation Initiative, among other research programs.

An "especially attractive feature" of processing coal and biomass together to make synfuels is that it requires only half the amount of biomaterial as pure biofuel production, while still making fuels with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions, Williams said.

The ultimate success of the research efforts will depend on how well the synfuels compare with traditional fuel sources, in terms of fuel characteristics, costs and environmental and safety issues, the researchers said.

"There is no doubt that developing feasible alternatives to petroleum for the aviation industry will be a long and expensive process," Dryer said. "And success, in the form of an enduring solution, will be priceless."

The shortest distance between two points is always under construction.

Poem: "Autobiography of the Cab Driver Who Picked Me Up at a Phoenix Hotel to Catch a Four A.M. Flight and Began to Speak in (Almost) Rhyming Couplets" by Rebecca McClanahan, from Deep Light: New and Selected Poems, 1987–2007. © Iris Press, 2007.

I got two problems.
I never see the sun
and two, if I did,

I couldn't take it, never could.

Now, my sister? Out one day
and brown the next. That's the way
my father was. We never
took vacations but he used to steer
on Sundays with one arm
out the window. Get dark as a black man.
Something in his blood, I guess.
Once I bought me a mess
of tanning cream, but something

kept me from using it.

He's been dead a whole

year. They say there's not a soul

on the streets this hour,

but the souls are just now rousing.

Yes Ma'am, when I see daylight I slide

into my coffin and close the lid.

Cooler that way. They say if you can survive

a summer in this heat, you're a native.

My brother's child? She claims to be one,

but I tell her she's got Made in Japan

stamped all over her keister.

Hey lady, you still on Eastern

time? You can have it. Yesterday

the TV reporter in Cincinnati

was three feet in snow. I phoned

my old drinking buddy back home

to rub it in. Lied and said I was out

today without a shirt. Barefoot.

He said you can keep those hundred

degrees. I said you don't have to shovel

a heat wave. Young lady, you okay?

Looks like you're fading. The longest day

I ever lived was the night

I left for Vietnam. What a sight,

would you look at that? Damn

jackhammers at three a.m.

They sure like to play in the dirt here.

Yes Ma'am. It's the same everywhere.

The shortest distance between

two points is always under construction.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Try to get to Carmen at Portland Opera

Think you've seen Carmen before? Think again.

Jossie Pérez is a must see and hear: a beautiful, powerful voice; a provactive, dynamic performance. The remainder of the cast is excellent. The production is colorful. You won't regret spending 3+ hours. David Stabler of the Oregonian thought Jossie Pérez was "all Gypsy in looks and voice," but found the rest of the production "tepid"

Yesterday's matinée performance was sold out.

Remaining performances:

Sep 25, 2007
Tuesday 7:30 pm

Sep 27, 2007
Thursday 7:30 pm

Sep 29, 2007
Saturday 7:30 pm


Born in Puerto Rico, Jossie Perez moved to Florida at age 15. At 16 she sang in the chorus of the Orlando Opera. After studying at the New England Conser- vatory, she won the Regional and National Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and was accepted into the Met's Young Artist Program.

She made her Met debut in 2000, as Mercedes in "Carmen". She has sung 14 roles at the Met so far, including Ascanius in 'Les Troyens', Second Lady in 'Magic Flute', Cherubino in 'Nozze di Figaro', (all of which were broadcast), and Siebel in 'Faust'. Jossie also sang CARMEN, Dorabella in 'Cosi fan Tutte', Rosina in 'Barber of Seville', Donna Elvira in 'Don Giovanni', and Isabella in 'L'Italiana in Algieri' - in Boston, Bellingham Festival, Wolf Trap, Spoleto Festival, Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Belle-Isle in France, Tulsa Opera, Santiago in Chile, Opera Pacific, and Detroit Opera.

Jossie Perez sang Idamante opposite Placido Domingo in 'Idomeneo' in Washington, DC. She also appeared in 'Lucrezia Borgia' in Oviedo, Spain, and in 'Parsifal' at the Salzburg Festival. She has sung concerts in Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and in Tokyo. She sang Mozart performances in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC, and Granada, Spain, and Recitals in Miami and Orlando, Florida. In Barcelona she sang the leading role of Sesto in 'Clemenza di Tito'.

In July she sang CARMEN in Tokyo, with Seiji Ozawa conducting.The Portland Opera will see her Carmen in September. On Oct. 31 in Dominican Republic it's a concert with Placido Domingo conducting. In Spain in 2008 she sings Charlotte in 'Werther' in Seville in March, and Cherubino at Teatre Liceu in Barcelona in November. Then in 2010 she sings Carmen in Barcelona.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A British Bill of Rights?

Constitutional reform

A bill of rights and more powers for MPs

Tania Branigan, political correspondent
Saturday June 30, 2007 The Guardian

Gordon Brown will unveil proposals for sweeping constitutional reforms to increase the authority of parliament next week, after a lengthy discussion at a special cabinet meeting yesterday. Voters will be able to have their say on changes, such as increasing parliament's authority and publishing a bill of rights, the justice minister, Jack Straw, said.

Mr. Brown will lay out his plans to transfer powers away from No 10 in a statement to the Commons on Monday. The proposals took up much of yesterday's 1¾-hour cabinet meeting, with every minister contributing. Changes are likely to include drastic trimming of the royal prerogative, used by the prime minister with the purely formal agreement of the Queen.

To hear comedian Andy Borowitz's take on this, click here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Good-bye, good bye, goodbye, hyphen

LONDON: The latest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has donned a new colour. SOED's editor Angus Stevenson explains the greening of his dictionary as a sign of the times.

"Suddenly people have become much more concerned about climate change," he says. "It's trendy to be green, and that has made the vocabulary of green issues much more widespread."

But its bid to omit the hyphen has invited a storm of criticism from appalled purists, seeking to launch a last-ditch defence of the hyphen, Stevenson is defensive but doughty.

"We only reflect what people in general are reading. We have been tracking this for some time and we've been finding the hyphen is used less and less. It will probably upset a few people but the point I would make is that we are only reflecting widespread everyday use. We are not saying it should be dropped completely."

So, good-bye, good bye, goodbye, hyphen.

By Emma Pomfret
WHETHER you're bootylicious or a muppet is strictly open to debate. But the use of such terms has become a phenomenon that lexicographers at the New Oxford Dictionary of English have been meticulously tracking for many years.

Published yesterday, the second edition of The Oxford Dictionary of English is considered to be the foremost single-volume authority on the English language.

Almost 3,000 words have entered the dictionary. Apostrophes are moving and shaking and the hyphen may well have had its day.

For example, e-mails have become emails and we are now online not on-line. A central part of the work undertaken by Oxford Dictionaries is to monitor all varieties of English from that used in formal, business, or scientific contexts to slang and informal usage.

Those that have passed the test include cyberslacker, fatoush, blamestorming, SARS, cantopop, bupkis, noughties, muggle, and robata. And familiar words we've used for years are changing.

You can guilt someone, or version something, while groom has taken on a more sinister meaning. The research also confirms that the Americanisation of English continues, with terms such as nerd, geek, bad hair day, and 24/7 as common here as they are in the US.

The world of television has given us bada bing courtesy of the US TV show The Sopranos, lovely jubbly from Only Fools and Horses, reality TV, and muppet meaning an incompetent or foolish person. Entertainment is now full of bootylicious, popstrels, and turntablists, who are da bomb, meaning the best. In science and technology, the fast-moving field of genetics has given us some colourful new terms: it's a world of pathogenicity islands, shotgun cloning and terminator genes.

Meanwhile, the web has become a place of hacktivists, shovelware and people who egosurf.

So, if you want to know what will happen if you have a 'Brazilian' at your local beauty salon, who the original 'Foo Fighters' were, what the 'Duckworth Lewis' method is, whether it is 'web site' or 'website', a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of English is a 'must-have'.

Ra-ma-ra-ma- -Ding-dong-, England-- (IP)-- 16,000 - hyphens -have -disappeared -from -the -Oxford -English-dictionary- and- London- Yard- is- on- the -look -out -for - the- maniac -who -stole -them. He- said- it- will-be- difficult- to-manage- all- of -those -hyphens.

Chief -Inspector -Povenmire -Finootch -says -a -sure -fire-way- to-find -the -hyphen -stealing -culprit -is -to simply- look- for- someone- using- an-excessive -number-of-hyphens- on- the- innernet- (sic) -as -he -so -cleverly -puts-it.

Inspector- Finootch- says- that- there- is- a- very- large-cash- reward- out- for- information- leading- to- the-arrest- and- conviction- of- the- -hyphen -thief. He- went- as- far- as- to- say- that- if- the- thief- would-turn- himself- in- that- the- thief- himself- could- cash-in- on- the- reward- which- he- says- is- in- the- six-figures - category.