Thanks to Jen, ultimate web ninja, for this article.
WASHINGTON — For the first time ever, NASA will beam a song — The Beatles’ "Across the Universe" — directly into deep space at 7 p.m. EST on Feb. 4.
The transmission over NASA’s Deep Space Network will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA’s founding and the group’s beginnings. Two other anniversaries also are being honored: The launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite, and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the universe.
The transmission is being aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is located 431 light years away from Earth. The song will travel across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney expressed excitement that the tune, which was principally written by fellow Beatle John Lennon, was being beamed into the cosmos.
"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" McCartney said in a message to the space agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, characterized the song’s transmission as a significant event.
"I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe," she said.
It is not the first time Beatles music has been used by NASA; in November 2005, McCartney performed the song "Good Day Sunshine" during a concert that was transmitted to the International Space Station. "Here Comes the Sun," "Ticket to Ride" and "A Hard Day’s Night" are among other Beatles’ songs that have been played to wake astronaut crews in orbit.
Feb. 4 has been declared "Across The Universe Day" by Beatles fans to commemorate the anniversaries. As part of the celebration, the public around the world has been invited to participate in the event by simultaneously playing the song at the same time it is transmitted by NASA. Many of the senior NASA scientists and engineers involved in the effort are among the group’s biggest fans.
"I’ve been a Beatles fan for 45 years a€" as long as the Deep Space Network has been around," said Dr. Barry Geldzahler, the network’s program executive at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "What a joy, especially considering that ‘Across the Universe’ is my personal favorite Beatles song."
My, my, Myyyyy Ninja, Please. I can see the aliens now… talkin’ bout "I am the eggmannn"… indentifying…
I imagine it to be something not exactly like - but akin to - this:
Maybe they’ll consider David next time.
We are pleased to tell you about the new exhibition opening at 511 gallery in New York. A friend of our site, Annie Larmon [featured above] is among the artists showing work between January 24th and February 28th at this hip little venue. I would tell you more about the exhibition but the press release probably says it all best.
The image of a gun sends a very strong message, even in our contemporary society, where civil violence and war are inescapable. Guns are used primarily for food, sport, defense or assault. Hunting for nourishment is a fading tradition that only a few people practice anymore. Not many require fresh kill in order to survive, fewer hunt for sport, and total gun ownership is on a three-decade decline. Yet, guns (or images of them) are more omnipresent than ever: on the street, on television and film, T-shirts and clothing, and even as toys for children. According to a recent report, there are more private firearms in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
Included in Fresh Kill are the pastel canvases of Annie Larmon, a young emerging artist who lives and works in Keane, NH. Although her work does not represent guns, the large figures of dead deer-some already eviscerated-clearly reference them. The animals hang softly and elegantly within interior spaces, forcing the viewer to consider the gruesome reality of these remains in the context of a beautifully rendered environment. Flattening the forms, the artist creates a tension amongst the limbs while simultaneously removing any anthropomorphic qualities the deer may possess by obscuring and obliterating the head of the animal. As did other artists before her (Picasso and Francis Bacon, certainly), Larmon’s imagery goes directly from your eyes to your stomach, bypassing the brain. As a result, the works produce a considerable gut reaction, and only after that, consideration of aesthetic notions of beauty and ugliness, and the thin line of demarcation between the two in art and life.
Theodore Waddell was born in Montana and raised within a strong hunting and fishing tradition, in which guns were commonplace and equated with hunting. Waddell began collecting bones he found scattered around a ranch, most of which have a "bone yard" where dead animals are piled and buried. Contemplating issues of life and death, sportsmanship, and testosterone, Waddell began configuring guns made of discarded cow bones, pearls, and actual gun fragments. These "guns" are placed in finely crafted gun boxes, lined with velvet. The result is something that is grotesque in its creation, yet elegant and beautiful in its presentation: the gun as art object. The juxtaposition of craftsmanship with quasi-crude presentations causes the viewer to think differently about guns in the context of death versus livelihood and urban versus rural use.
Matt Ernst’s series of charcoal drawings, "Guns", comprises the third component of our exhibition. As in his earlier bodies of work, this New York artist addresses issues of human aggression. Noting the prominence of aggression in our society and within the human species, Ernst’s work emphasizes the fact that, as evolved as we may be biologically, we still use primitive means by which to yield power. According to Ernst, "guns are the ultimate symbol of this paradox of human advancement." The portrayal of these automatic weapons, detailed in excessively heavy and dense charcoal against stark white backgrounds, confronts the viewer directly, forcing us to pause and consider the meaning of these objects, which have become a symbol of both power and death within our culture.
In a nation where our right to bear arms is heavily defended and embedded within the Constitution, how much power does the gun hold? The answer to that question is heavily debatable, but running counter to what we see in our everyday life, America’s gun culture is fading. The gun is no longer identified with sport or as a weapon we use against animals, but rather, as a weapon that humans use against other humans. It has become a divisive symbol that we use to define people; pro or anti-gun, good or bad, liberal or conservative, and upper-class or lower-class. It has been used to create division, and divisiveness-in geography, politics, and class. The gun, and its usage, has become a highly debated issue on a national-even international-scale. According to Matt Ernst, guns are "beautiful and polarizing, ugly and terrifying, repulsive and magnetic"; indeed, guns are powerful, if only because they rivet our attention. [LINK]
The 511 gallery is located at 529 West 20 Street in the city. It curates between 8 and 10 shows a year in different mediums, in addition to a two month group thematic show during July and August. If you happen to be nearby you should definitely check it out. If not, click the links in this article for a small sampling of some of the work