Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
[…] But browsing for cute images online does not translate into offline kindness. Animal cruelty and abandonment are at record levels in Britain, in particular as a consequence of owners who can no longer afford to keep pets in a recession. Animal rescue charities are overwhelmed, and at a time when donations are also under pressure.
It is a human convenience to make distinctions between lovable companions and supper, as the recent scandal over horse meat in burgers illuminated. Likewise, we draw comfortable lines between foreign outrages and domestic necessity. We abhor bullfighting in Spain, or whaling in Japan, while continuing to eat eggs from hens that have spent their short lives crammed into cages.
Meanwhile, we are surprised when animals actually act like animals, whether that be scavenging our dustbins and bird tables or, in extremis, attacking a human being. This shock reveals a grandiose assumption that animals are simply less sophisticated versions of ourselves.
Photograph: Franziska Krug/Getty Images
Alice Guy at the end of the nineteenth century.
Alice Guy-Blaché (July 1, 1873–March 24, 1968) was a French pioneer filmmaker who was the first female director in the motion picture industry and is considered to be one of the first directors of a fiction film.
Alice Guy-Blaché is the first female film maker and is responsible for creating one of the first narrative films in 1896.Guy’s career of 24 years of directing, writing and producing films is the longest career of any of the cinema pioneers. From 1896 to 1920, Guy directed over 400 films, 22 of these films are feature length features. Guy was and still is the only woman to ever manage and own her own studio, The Solax Company.
In 1953 Guy was awarded the Légion d’honneur, the highest non military award France offers. On March 16, 1957 she was honored in a Cinematheque Françoise ceremony which went unnoticed by the press.
Concert pianist Philippa Duke Schuyler, age 14
Piano prodigy Philippa Duke Schuyler was the daughter of a politically conservative black journalist and a white former Southern beauty queen. George Schuyler and Josephine Codgell were proponents of interracial marriage and believed that biracial children had the potential to be exceptional thanks to their mixed heritage.
Josephine devoted herself to developing her daughter’s expected genius. A raw food proponent, Josephine fed Philippa a diet of raw vegetables, raw beef, and cod liver oil. Philippa was educated mainly at home and by age two her spelling ability was profiled in a New York newspaper. By four, Philippa was an established piano prodigy, often performing her own compositions. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was among her fans. Her IQ was tested to be 185.
As a teenager Philippa was an international touring pianist, but she struggled to find tour sponsors due to her race and gender. As she matured, Philippa became disillusioned with both her parents and the discrimination she faced. Philippa gave up performing in her thirties and became a journalist.
While on assignment in Vietnam in 1967, Philippa’s helicopter crashed and unable to swim, she drown. Heartbroken, Josephine committed suicide on the second anniversary of her daughter’s death.
A middle school in Brooklyn is named in Philippa’s honor.
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Sunspot AR1402 Kicks Up More Solar Energy
Sunspot AR1402, the source of this week’s powerful M9-class solar flare, is acting up again.
On Jan. 26th between 0100 UT and 0600 UT, a sequence of C-class magnetic eruptions around the active region hurled a bright coronal mass ejection over the sun’s north pole, shown here in a coronagraph image from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
The cloud is not heading toward Earth, at least not directly. This and future eruptions from AR1402 are unlikely to be geoeffective as the sunspot is turning away from our planet. By week’s end it will be on the far side of the sun, blasting its CMEs toward planets on the opposite side of the solar system.