Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Albert Einstein

Born on π day! 
Albert Einstein during lecture in Vienna, 1921 
by F. Schmutzer

The cult of individual personalities is always, in my view, unjustified. To be sure, nature distributes her gifts variously among her children. But there are plenty of the well-endowed ones too, thank God, and I am firmly convinced that most of them live quiet, unregarded lives. It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few of them for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular estimate of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque. - Albert Einstein, 14 March 1879 - 18 April 1955

Year 2015 marks a very special anniversary. Hundred years ago, in 1915, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity. This theory described gravity as a fundamental quality of space-time. It provides foundation for our current view of the expanding universe. 

Image source here


Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Time Traveller Sends a Postcard

I found this card in ruins 
of a tourist trap, above a volcano.  
The air reeks of sulfur, but the view - 
storm-gray rocks and lava trails
to violent sea - magnificent desolation.
What year this is, I cannot say,
those readouts have burned out long ago.
Once I charted the eons
by light pollution or the ice caps
but now I am content to leap
like a child trusting his father will catch him.
When will this find you? The day of your birth?
Double feature at the drive in? The night we watched
bombs shed the night’s skin? The fall
day when rain finally stopped and you said this is no way to live? 
You were right, or will be. The water’s edge tints red.
An algal bloom or some chemical
morass. Rocks melt in the silence.
I will investigate. Yours.

By Israel Weinstein

Poem source here
Image source here

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rising the Flag on Iwo Jima

Seventy years ago, on February 23, 1945, five United States Marines and one United States Navy corpsman planted the American flag on the peak of  Mount Suribachi on the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima. 

Not many people know that the 37-square-foot flag actually came from Pearl Harbor. The flag was discovered in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot only a few months earlier by a young Navy officer, Allan Wood. 

The invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945, after the fall of Philippines. Iwo Jima was used by the Japanese as an early warning station. The island was heavily fortified. The Japanese infantry kept secure positions in their underground bunkers and "pillboxes" that were connected by a myriad of tunnels. The bloody and difficult battle resulted in heavy casualties among the invading US Marines. It lasted until March 26, 1945, but the peak was taken only four days after landing.

The iconic shot was taken by an Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal who received a 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

This image inspired Felix de Weldon to sculpt the United States Marine Corps Memorial that was dedicated to all Marines who lost their lives in wars, past and present. The Monument is located near the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC. It is a constant reminder of an incredible sacrifice and bravery of men who loved their country more than anything else. 

By Dominique Allmon

Image source here
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