SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has a new director.

For 25 years, scientists in Mountain View, California have been manning listening stations, hoping not to miss the moment aliens make contact with us humans. The place is known as the SETI Institute. It was inspired by the famed astronomer Carl Sagan. And the idea was to use radio telescopes to listen to the cosmos just in case.

Sagan’s first doctoral student was David Morrison, and this week he took over as the new head of the institute’s Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe.

I still miss Carl Sagan. I guess if he were alive now he’d have to invent a force field to repel all the political mud that rains on anyone who is too reality-based. Good luck to David Morrison, it would really rock if he actually got the extraterrestrial station of NPR. To read the interview live from planet Earth, go here.

Ruth Dealy at Imago Gallery

Ruth Dealy spoke at Imago on June 24th. Ruth is one of Rhode Island’s most uncompromising artists, working big with vivid images of what she sees out her window and in her mirror. It looks abstract, she says she makes nothing up and just paints what’s there.

A sample of Ruth’s work is on her site, here.

Ruth’s relationship to visual art is intertwined with her gratitude for vision. She lost one eye in childhood due to illness and a few years ago became blind in her good eye, necessitating risky surgery which was successful. Her paintings are full of clashing colors and powerful brush strokes, creating a zone of light and motion.

I’m still processing her artist’s talk last night, but Bill Rodriguez at the Phoenix published this excellent interview in 2003.

Ruth was also interviewed on YouTube here, and repeats the advice that she gave last night, that the work of the artist is to ‘stay scared’. She has gone into the dark, not as a tourist or for the experience, but involuntarily and terrified. She paints the journey and the way back. Ruth’s show at Imago will be up through July 10th.

Botox Paralyzes the Body-Mind Connection

I was once doing rounds in a nursing home, going from room to room. Every room had a TV, always on, usually playing Fox News at high volume. I caught a few seconds of a talking woman’s head. She had a Schlafly hairdo and was so angry she was nearly spraying saliva. But there was a strange divide.

Her face was a mask of fury from the eyebrows down. From the eyebrows up she was smooth serenity. ‘Botox’, I said to myself.

From MSNBC via the Drudge Retort, a study shows that Botox blunts the ability to feel emotion. Well, duh. What do you think you are, Spock, a brain in a box? Haven’t you heard of the body-mind connection?

Here’s a little experiment you can try at home. Smile. Now, don’t you feel happier? No? My research shows that 20% of you will actually feel cynical, bitter and hostile, but that’s because you have a sardonic smile. This is more common in Kmareka readers than the general population. Research is ongoing.

Myself, I am getting re-acquainted with the joys of shopping at Sals, so I won’t be getting a facial real soon. Luckily I signed up for Gold’s Gym so I’ve got another place to work off the stress fat. Humanity cries out for a way to be agelessly slim without giving up bad habits or forming good ones. Or taking bad drugs either.

I have dedicated myself to this quest. Don’t thank me, it will be a long-term project. Preliminary results show that since going to the gym I’ve gained five pounds, but I’m sure it’s all muscle. When I find the Holy Grail I’ll share my secret at a reasonable fee and my cash flow problems will be solved.

Vote Now!

Having had a night to sleep on it, I’ve decided that Rhode Island needs an authentic political voice. We have too much yapping from big national parties, (no offense, Dems and Repubs), Green is okay, but right now I’ve got the blues, the Moderate party doesn’t excite passion and the Tea Party– pushing a Chinese drink that only Bostonian elites sip in thin porcelain cups, is too Foxy for me.

So which will it be? Frozen Lemonade to make the best of the lemons the economy has thrown at Rhode Island, or Coffee Milk to get us caffeinated but yet calm and sweet?

Vote Today– and don’t hesitate to suggest a candidate. I’d do it, but I’d never survive the glare of national publicity. Any volunteers?