Thursday, March 15, 2018

My hero - A Tribute

Heroes live among us, never seeking thanks or praise,
Living lives of deep commitment, through the passage of their days,
To find enlightenment through knowledge, which they gladly give away
For the betterment of human kind, and to guide the questing human mind.
You wouldn't notice when they pass you by, no shining armor nor steed of white.
They arm themselves with wisdom and we bask within their crystal light,
Find clarity from minds so bright.

 Such a hero  has been lost today, he fought with valor until called away,
A battle fierce, filled with such pain, he crossed over to another plane.
 His body, feeble, could not hold the mighty brilliance of his soul,
 So set him free at last to fly, unfettered, into starry skies,
To find the answers he has always sought, with freedom he so dearly bought.
 My hero has no need of limbs, the universe belongs to him.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking dead at 76

Best-known theoretical physicist of his time wrote international bestseller A Brief History of Time
The Associated Press Posted: Mar 13, 2018 11:59 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018 12:47 PM
Stephen Hawking, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, is shown in 2006. He has died at the age of 76, a family spokesperson says. (Paul Yeung/Reuters)

Stephen Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, died peacefully at home early Wednesday in Cambridge, England. He was 76 years old.

The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, A Brief History of Time, became an international bestseller, making him one of science's biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Hawking at the White House. His children remembered him Wednesday as a 'great scientist and an extraordinary man.' (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement. "His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."

Even though his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years. A severe attack of pneumonia in 1985 left him breathing through a tube, forcing him to communicate through an electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his distinctive robotic monotone.

But he continued his scientific work, appeared on television and married for a second time.
Sought 'theory of everything'
As one of Isaac Newton's successors as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics — a "unified theory."

Such a theory would resolve the contradictions between Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.
Pope Francis greets Hawking at the Vatican in 2016. For Hawking, the search for a 'theory of everything' was almost a religious quest. (L'Osservatore Romano via Associated Press)

For Hawking, the search was almost a religious quest — he said finding a "theory of everything" would allow mankind to "know the mind of God."

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in A Brief History of Time.

The Universe in a Nutshell
In later years, though, he suggested a unified theory might not exist.

He followed up A Brief History of Time in 2001 with the more accessible sequel The Universe in a Nutshell, updating readers on concepts like super gravity, naked singularities and the possibility of an 11-dimensional universe.
Hawking said belief in a God who intervenes in the universe "to make sure the good guys win or get rewarded in the next life" was wishful thinking.

"But one can't help asking the question: Why does the universe exist?" he said in 1991. "I don't know an operational way to give the question or the answer, if there is one, a meaning. But it bothers me."

The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Star Trek

The combination of his bestselling book and his almost total disability — for a while he could use a few fingers, later he could only tighten the muscles on his face — made him one of science's most recognizable faces.

He made cameo appearances on TV shows including The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and Star Trek, and counted among his fans U2 guitarist The Edge, who attended a January 2002 celebration of Hawking's 60th birthday.
Hawking delivers a lecture on the origin of the universe in Brussels in 2007. He said the question of why the universe exists 'bothers me.' (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

His early life was chronicled in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, with Eddie Redmayne winning the best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the scientist. The film focused still more attention on Hawking's remarkable achievements.

"We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family," Redmayne said in a statement.

Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who starred in the 2004 BBC film Hawking — the first-ever portrayal of him onscreen — also paid tribute.

"I feel so lucky to have known such a truly great man whose profundity was found both in his work and the communication of that work," the actor said in a statement.

"'I will miss our margaritas but will raise one to the stars to celebrate your life and the light of understanding you shone so brightly on them for the rest of us."

'Perfect mind trapped in an imperfect body'

Richard Green, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association — the British name for ALS — said Hawking met the classic definition of the disease, as "the perfect mind trapped in an imperfect body." He said Hawking had been an inspiration to people with the disease for many years.

Although it could take him minutes to compose answers to even simple questions, Hawking said the disability did not impair his work. It certainly did little to dampen his ambition to physically experience space himself: Hawking savoured small bursts of weightlessness in 2007 when he was flown aboard a jet that made repeated dives to simulate zero gravity.   
'I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space'
 Hawking had hoped to leave Earth's atmosphere altogether someday, a trip he often recommended to the rest of the planet's inhabitants.

"In the long run the human race should not have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet," Hawking said in 2008. "I just hope we can avoid dropping the basket until then."

Showed light can leave black holes
Hawking first earned prominence for his theoretical work on black holes. Disproving the belief that black holes are so dense that nothing could escape their gravitational pull, he showed that black holes leak a tiny bit of light and other types of radiation, now known as "Hawking radiation."

"It came as a complete surprise," said Gary Horowitz, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "It really was quite revolutionary."

Illuminating Black Holes - Stephen Hawking
Horowitz said the find helped move scientists one step closer to cracking the unified theory.

Hawking's other major scientific contribution was to cosmology, the study of the universe's origin and evolution. Working with Jim Hartle of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hawking proposed in 1983 that space and time might have no beginning and no end. "Asking what happens before the Big Bang is like asking for a point one mile north of the North Pole," he said.

In 2004, he announced that he had revised his previous view that objects sucked into black holes simply disappeared, perhaps to enter an alternate universe. Instead, he said he believed objects could be spit out of black holes in a mangled form.

That new theory capped his three-decade struggle to explain a paradox in scientific thinking: How can objects really "disappear" inside a black hole and leave no trace, as he long believed, when subatomic theory says matter can be transformed but never fully destroyed?

Diagnosed at graduate school
Hawking was born Jan. 8, 1942, in Oxford, and grew up in London and St. Albans, northwest of the capital. In 1959, he entered Oxford University and then went on to graduate work at Cambridge.

How Stephen Hawking changed the life of this UBC astronomy student
Signs of illness appeared in his first year of graduate school, and he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease after the New York Yankee star who died of it. The disease usually kills within three to five years.

According to John Boslough, author of Stephen Hawking's Universe, Hawking became deeply depressed. But as it became apparent that he was not going to die soon, his spirits recovered and he bore down on his work. Brian Dickie, director of research at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said only five per cent of those diagnosed with ALS survive for 10 years or longer. Hawking, he added, "really is at the extreme end of the scale when it comes to survival."

Hawking married Jane Wilde in 1965 and they had three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy.

Research position in Waterloo, Ont.
Jane cared for Hawking for 20 years, until a grant from the United States paid for the 24-hour care he required.

He was inducted into the Royal Society in 1974 and received the Albert Einstein Award in 1978. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth made him a Companion of Honour, one of the highest distinctions she can bestow.

He whizzed about Cambridge at surprising speed — usually with nurses or teaching assistants in his wake — travelled and lectured widely, and appeared to enjoy his fame. He retired from his chair as Lucasian Professor in 2009 and took up a research position with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont.
Perimeter Institute Harper Hawking 20100706
In 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sits with Hawking before making a funding announcement at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ont. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Hawking divorced Jane in 1991, an acrimonious split that strained his relationship with their children. Writing in her autobiographical Music to Move the Stars, she said the strain of caring for Hawking for nearly three decades had left her feeling like "a brittle, empty shell." Hawking married his one-time nurse Elaine Mason four years later, but the relationship was dogged by rumours of abuse.

'I ... do anything that I really want'
Police investigated in 2004 after newspapers reported that he'd been beaten, suffering injuries including a broken wrist, gashes to the face and a cut lip, and was left stranded in his garden on the hottest day of the year.

Hawking called the charges "completely false." Police found no evidence of any abuse. Hawking and Mason separated in 2006.
Hawking and his then-wife Elaine pose in front of the San Lorenzo beach in the northern Spanish city of Gijon in 2005. (Alonso Gonzales/Reuters)

Lucy Hawking said her father had an exasperating "inability to accept that there is anything he cannot do."

"I accept that there are some things I can't do," he told The Associated Press in 1997. "But they are mostly things I don't particularly want to do anyway."

Then, grinning widely, he added, "I seem to manage to do anything that I really want."

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
RIP  Professor  Steven Hawking .......          Condolence to the family    
Shadow  & Witchy

Monday, March 12, 2018

Did He Lie

Melania Knew

Dear America: Come on, you can’t be serious.
The ongoing saga over a president, a porn star and a payoff is so lewd and tawdry that it can’t simply be added to the ever-expanding list of horrible misbehaviors of a womanizing misogynist.
It’s not even the infidelity that most bothers me. I view that as an issue between spouses and with the other person involved. I contend that we on the outside never really know what understandings may exist in a marriage, unless the two parties within reveal it. In this case, Melania knew exactly the kind of man she was getting.
When Donald first meets Melania, they are at a New York Fashion Week party to which Donald has been invited by the wealthy Italian businessman who brought Melania to America on a modeling contract and work visa. According to GQ, sometimes, to promote his models, the businessman “would send a few girls to an event and invite photographers, producers, and rich playboys.”
Trump is on a date with another woman that night. He is also in the process of divorcing Marla Maples, his second wife, with whom he had had an affair while still married to his first wife, Ivana Trump.
That’s right, Melania knew.
In April 2004, Donald proposes to Melania at the Met Gala.
By the way, just to underscore how vile this man is, in September 2004, Trump goes on Howard Stern, and while discussing with Stern how beautiful they both find Trump’s daughter Ivanka, Stern says, “Can I say this? A piece of ass.” Trump responds, “Yes.”
Trump marries Melania in January of 2005. They had signed a prenuptial agreement. Nine months later, in September, “Access Hollywood” records Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women — kissing and groping them without prior consent — and claiming: “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Six months after the tape is recorded, on March 20, 2006, Mr. and Mrs. Trump’s son Barron is born. (That means that Melania was pregnant when Trump was making his lewd remarks about assaulting other women.)
Four months after Barron is born, porn star Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, alleged that she and Trump initiated a consensual, sexual relationship after meeting at a golf tournament.
Clifford alleges that the “intimate relationship” began in July 2006 and continued “well into the year 2007.”
Trump also goes on “The View” in 2006 and says of Ivanka: “She does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” His daughter! And remember, he is newly married to Melania, who will give birth to Barron just 14 days after his appearance on the show.
And through it all, Melania has remained. So, that’s their marriage. They clearly have some sort of understanding, some emotional elasticity — or financial dependency — that is beyond my comprehension.
So that part is what it is.
As for the present news, it is not clear to me if the money paid by Donald Trump’s personal attorney to Clifford, to prevent the disclosure of a sexual affair Clifford says she had with Trump, will be found in violation of federal campaign finance laws. Neither is it clear to me if the courts will allow Clifford to get out of her nondisclosure agreement.
Those are all legal issues. What matters most to me about this sordid tale is the way it fits into a pattern of behavior and a Trump worldview about women: that they are mere objects and opportunities, a reward owed to men of wealth, and that objections and protestations are invalid.
This is about the defamation of, silencing of, and shouting down of women.
At the very same time that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have given voice to women, and led to men being held accountable, particularly in the private sector, Trump has almost single-handedly aided in the numbing of America’s sympathies for women who speak up about the sexual exploits, misdeeds and assaults of elected officials.

Yes, there have been some political resignations, but primarily among people who have confessed to their sins. But among the men like Trump who deny the accusations, little has been done. Indeed, Trump has made a habit of defending such men, using the forcefulness of their denials as proof of innocence. Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women.
Women matter,  their voices matter, propriety, honor and character matter.
Thanx to Charles M. Blow ... New York Times

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Woman named in Stormy Daniels' document accused Trump of unwanted advances

By Scott Glover, Curt Devine and MJ Lee, CNN
Updated 9:07 PM ET,   Thu March 8, 2018
Jessica Drake (left) and Stormy Daniels pose at the Wicked Pictures booth at an adult entertainment expo in Las Vegas in 2015.

(CNN)When adult film star Jessica Drake accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct a month before the presidential election, Trump said through a spokesperson that he didn't know the woman and had "no interest in ever knowing her."

Less than a week later, a woman named Angel Ryan was listed in a secret settlement agreement negotiated by Trump's personal attorney as having "confidential information" about the then-Republican nominee.
The two occurrences may appear unrelated. But there is a connection: Drake, the woman who accused Trump, and Ryan, the woman named in the non-disparagement agreement, are the same person, according to interviews and documents reviewed by CNN.
Anxiety over Stormy Daniels pervasive inside the White House

The connection raises new questions about the circumstances surrounding the controversial agreement in which Trump attorney Michael Cohen sought to protect his longtime client and friend.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news that Cohen paid adult film ssought to protect his longtime client and friend.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news that Cohen paid adult film star Stephanie Clifford $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.

Earlier this week, Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, sued the President in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to void the agreement, which she attached to her complaint.
In a section dealing with "prior disclosures" of "confidential information," the agreement cites four people with whom Clifford had already shared such information.
One of them was Angel Ryan.
Online records reviewed by CNN show that Ryan obtained a trademark registration for the name Jessica Drake.
Gloria Allred, Ryan's attorney, confirmed the link for CNN.
"Jessica Drake is still my client. She is Angel Ryan and the one whose name is in the settlement agreement," Allred told CNN. She said her client was never contacted about Clifford's settlement agreement.
Why it's 'likely' Stormy Daniels will get to tell her Donald Trump story
Allred would not comment on Ryan's relationship with Clifford, or the timing of her 2016 disclosure being so close to the drafting of Clifford's agreement.
Both Clifford and Ryan worked for Wicked Entertainment and both said they attended a 2006 golf outing in Lake Tahoe, also attended by Trump.
Clifford said in this week's court filing that she began "an intimate relationship" with Trump that summer, which continued into 2007.
At the press conference in October 2016, Ryan, joined by Allred, said she was subjected to unwanted sexual advances by Trump at the golf tournament. She said he kissed her without asking and offered to pay her for sex.
Trump campaign officials denied the allegations and said the candidate did not know his accuser.
Six days later, Drake's real name appeared in the agreement related to Clifford.
Cohen has publicly acknowledged using his own money to facilitate the payment to Clifford in the weeks before the presidential election. He said Trump had no knowledge that he was planning do so or had done so. He said Trump "vehemently denies" Clifford's allegations.
The agreement specified three other people with whom Clifford had shared "confidential information." They are an ex-husband, a business manager, and a photographer.
All three either declined comment or could not be reached.
CNN's Drew Griffin and Sara Sidner contributed to this report.

Thursday, March 08, 2018