Thursday, July 14, 2011

Central park

One time my teacher told me an interesting fact about central park. She told me that central park is worth more just the way it is rather than people constructing buildings in it. I find it interesting how iconic central park is to people and creating more buildings would not generate a lot money as it is today. Before taking the Nature and Culture class, I have taken parks for granted and now I appreciate it more due to the fact that people such as Fredrick Law Olmsted who fought really hard to design many parks and stood up for what he believed in.

Neil Young sings "Double Rainbow"

by the way, I still have yet to find any reference to where the double rainbow guy admits to having been on any kind of drugs the morning he saw the rainbows.  So I'll keep believing he was simply having an intense, emotional, pure Burkean experience of the sublime, thank you very much.  :-)

The Cove: the influence of media

While discussing the clubbing of the baby harp seals, one recent movie immediately came to mind: Ric O'Barry's The Cove.
The Cove proved to be an influential movie upon its release in 2009, and uses many of the same tactics the anti-clubbing supporters use in their own film and propaganda.
The Cove, a documentary, comments on the massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, a small whaling community, and conveys a message not unlike that of the baby seal videos seen in class.
O'Barry's work shows secretly documented footage (as it was illegal for the movie crew to film on site, so cameras were hidden) of the dolphin hunters and how the men would murder the dolphins. It evokes a similar image of the killings of the baby seals. Armed man versus defenseless creature.
In addition, the film stars Ric O'Barry--a man who has been around the block in the dolphin entertainment business a couple times. His celebrity influence, along with the appearance of various other celebrities, including Hayden Panettiere, help to sway the audience to see their side of the argument.

This brings up the question raised in class: "Can pictures be arguments?".
After watching The Cove, the answer is an astounding "yes".
The Cove, as a picture, plays on human emotions such as pity for the dolphins, as well as anger and hate towards the Japanese hunters. Although voiced arguments are stated, the one scene of the slaughter is enough to change any person's opinion. The gut-wrenching scene is so emotionally charged that it can, and reportedly has, brought people to tears.

The Cove, like many other anti-animal cruelty propaganda, features the cruel and uncut violence towards animals, and no matter how vile and disturbing the footage is, it makes an effective argument and lasting impact on viewers. It leaves an indelible scar on human memory, making sure that the brutal killings of the animals will not soon be forgotten.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seely Houk murder

Hey guys,

Here's a 1922 New York Times article that covers the reopening of the Seely Houk murder case. Apparently, County Detective J.N. Dunlop found evidence incriminating another man, not Rocco Racco. Here's a quote from the article: "County Detective J.N. Dunlap, who said he had discovered new evidence... swore out a warrant charging Jim Murdock with killing the warden." It looks like Rocco Racco did not deserve to be hanged, at least not for Seely Houk's murder.

Here's the link to the article:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Annie Edson Taylor's Cat

After the lecture about Niagara Falls, I was curious as to whether or not Annie Edson Taylor brought her cat with her as she rode over Niagara Falls in a barrel. While researching the topic, I came across a news article from last year. It turns out she didn't actually bring the cat with her, but the cat was deeply involved in the journey. The article described a series of precautions Annie Edson Taylor took in preparing for her trip down the falls. It turns out she went through the trouble of having a custom barrel sized specifically for her, including straps to hold her in and a combination of pillows and mattresses to break her fall. Apparently this was still not enough assurance for her, and she felt it was necessary to test the barrel out before she used it; the test subject - her cat! If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, here is the link:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Electricity gained by the usage of Niagara Falls

One of the things from today's lecture which had brought an interest to me was the usage of the Niagara Falls as a source for electricity. From the information found on and , we can see that the combined power of the electricity production gained from generators from both the USA and Canada can power up the entire New York City. It is an extraordinary fact considering that the power comes purely from natural resources, in this case the source of powerful water stream.

Relating to the Molly Maguires

Here's an article from the New York Times archive from 1863. The article reports that another Pennsylvania Irish mining gang, referred to as the Buckshots, killed Mr. Smith of the mining corporation. "Mr. SMITH, who was killed, has incurred the hatred of the Irish miners by his opposition to their secret organization, which had for its object the exclusion of all the workmen of other countries." This incident sounds extremely similar to some of the actions taken by the Molly Maguires in the film. I also want to point out that in the quote above, the Irish want to exclude workers of other nationalities, (presumably Welsh and German) from the mines.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Molly Maguires

So, I was curious about the Molly Maguires after discussing them in class, and it turns out that Mr. Tantillo was right! According one website, the real Molly Maguire was a real person! The real Molly Maguire was an Irish widow who protested against thieving landlords in the 1840's. She led the "Anti-landlord Agitators" and she and her followers would fist fight with the corrupt landlords to "maintain their land and their dignity". Eventually, the Agitators grew famous in Ireland and adopted the name "Molly Maguires" after their infamous leader. The Irish immigration to America brought over Molly Maguires who became active again to fight for Irish coal miner's rights.
Here's the source if anybody's interested:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Animal Travel Stress; 150 Years Later

After our discussion on animal transportation by rail and the evolution of stock cars, I was thinking about modern transportation of livestock. I was curious if it is as difficult to find a modern transport method now as it was when Alonzo Mather created his master stock car. I did some research and, to my surprise, there is already a pretty steady market for it...

I wonder if Mr. Mather would be impressed...

Millau Viaduct