Is Anderson Cooper the Next Norman Mailer?
Mailer was a founding member of Back House Productions, a theater production company in New York. His play "Crazy Eyes" had its World Premiere in Athens, Greece, in March 2005. From 2003 to 2004 he served as the Executive Editor of High Times magazine. He has lectured at the University of Notre Dame, Wesleyan, and the University of Athens.
Question: Who is carrying\r\non your father's legacy?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
John Buffalo Mailer:\r\nThere’s several people out there who I feel are doing their part in that\r\nway. I would say the only one\r\nperson I know of who kind of combines the elements that my father \r\nbrought to\r\nthe table in terms of affecting the public discourse would be Oliver\r\nStone. His combination of academic\r\nbrilliance and real life experience and just understanding people I \r\nthink is\r\nwhat makes him such a great storyteller, but also he cares. He is interested. He meets \r\nsomebody and he listens to\r\nthem. He has some questions. He\r\n wants to know what they’re about. And\r\nas a result I think his worldview is much more complex and whole and \r\nmost of\r\nthe other… I don’t know if we even\r\nhave a category of public intellectual anymore, but he would be in that\r\ncategory. He would be out\r\nthere. The reason… One of \r\nthe things that sets him apart\r\nthough is he is commercial. He is\r\nmainstream. He makes big movies and he is one of the last guys that can make big movies that actually have something to say, that you know challenge the audience in a way while entertaining them.
But there's, you know, there's a lot of people out there who are doing it. I don’t know if it’s possible for anyone to really have that level of a voice anymore because our media is so diluted and parsed out. You know\r\npeople kind of go for the news and information that they want as opposed\r\n to\r\npicking up a paper and seeing what catches their eye. It’s\r\n a very stark difference and you know it’s there is a\r\nfew stories that end up going wide and everybody hears about them, but \r\nthey’re\r\nusually salacious celebrity stuff that is not about substance or it’s \r\nthe\r\nlatest disaster and it’s kind of covered in a way that is just trying to\r\n get\r\neyeballs on the screen. It’s not,\r\nyou know. I mean I think that\r\nAnderson Cooper does a great job of staying with stories and pushing \r\nthem. New Orleans he really… He\r\n was there and he pushed it past the\r\npoint where his producers were saying, “Listen, you've got to stop because \r\npeople\r\nare tuning out now. We’re on to another disaster.” You\r\nknow, what do you worry about? Haiti? Chile? Turkey? What? You know,\r\nwhere do you put your attention and your focus? So\r\n for one person to really be able to cover all that ground\r\nwould be tough. Also I think that,\r\nyou know, you have experts in fields who spend their life studying one\r\nthing. When an event goes on like\r\nthat chances are they’re going to want that specific expert who has done\r\n it to\r\nbe on the show talking about it, not a writer or an artist of any sort, \r\nwhich I\r\nthink is a mistake because you know we don’t have… I\r\n mean we have them, but there is certainly not you know in\r\nstrong force public philosophers anymore. \r\nThe only way you’re going to get that kind of metaphorical larger\r\n take\r\non what is actually happening and what it means to us and what it’s \r\ngoing to\r\nmean in a few years is to talk to people whose job it is to take life \r\nand turn\r\nit into stories and create it and frame it. So \r\nit’s a tough role to fill. I think that one of the \r\nthings that my dad was grappling\r\nwith towards the end was how that shift had happened now and he would go\r\n on a\r\nbook tour and do his shows and it would be you know fulfilling and good,\r\n but he\r\nwouldn’t have the same impact that he used to and it wasn’t because \r\npeople were\r\nless interested. It’s just because\r\npeople are distracted by the million different sources of entertainment \r\nand\r\ninformation in front of them at any given time.
Recorded March 30, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Oliver Stone is our culture's best at combining storytelling with social awareness, says John Buffalo Mailer. But others also carry his father's torch.
It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction
- It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
- If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
- The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Through computationally intensive computer simulations, researchers have discovered that "nuclear pasta," found in the crusts of neutron stars, is the strongest material in the universe.
- The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
- You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
- This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Superman is known as the "Man of Steel" for his strength and indestructibility. But the discovery of a new material that's 10 billion times harder to break than steel begs the question—is it time for a new superhero known as "Nuclear Pasta"? That's the name of the substance that a team of researchers thinks is the strongest known material in the universe.
Unlike humans, when stars reach a certain age, they do not just wither and die, but they explode, collapsing into a mass of neurons. The resulting space entity, known as a neutron star, is incredibly dense. So much so that previous research showed that the surface of a such a star would feature amazingly strong material. The new research, which involved the largest-ever computer simulations of a neutron star's crust, proposes that "nuclear pasta," the material just under the surface, is actually stronger.
The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.
Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv
Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.
The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.
While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.
One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.
"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"
Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.
The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.
Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.
Scientists think constructing a miles-long wall along an ice shelf in Antarctica could help protect the world's largest glacier from melting.
- Rising ocean levels are a serious threat to coastal regions around the globe.
- Scientists have proposed large-scale geoengineering projects that would prevent ice shelves from melting.
- The most successful solution proposed would be a miles-long, incredibly tall underwater wall at the edge of the ice shelves.
The world's oceans will rise significantly over the next century if the massive ice shelves connected to Antarctica begin to fail as a result of global warming.
To prevent or hold off such a catastrophe, a team of scientists recently proposed a radical plan: build underwater walls that would either support the ice or protect it from warm waters.
In a paper published in The Cryosphere, Michael Wolovick and John Moore from Princeton and the Beijing Normal University, respectively, outlined several "targeted geoengineering" solutions that could help prevent the melting of western Antarctica's Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier, whose melting waters are projected to be the largest source of sea-level rise in the foreseeable future.
An "unthinkable" engineering project
"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.
One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.
The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.
Source: Wolovick et al.
An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.
But other, more feasible options could also be effective. For example, building a smaller wall that blocks about 50% of warm water from reaching the glacier would have about a 70% chance of preventing a runaway collapse, while constructing a series of isolated, 1,000-foot-tall columns on the seafloor as supports had about a 30% chance of success.
Still, the authors note that the frigid waters of the Antarctica present unprecedently challenging conditions for such an ambitious geoengineering project. They were also sure to caution that their encouraging results shouldn't be seen as reasons to neglect other measures that would cut global emissions or otherwise combat climate change.
"There are dishonest elements of society that will try to use our research to argue against the necessity of emissions' reductions. Our research does not in any way support that interpretation," they wrote.
"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume."
A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine illustrates the potentially devastating effects of ice-shelf melting in western Antarctica.
"As the oceans and atmosphere warm, melting of ice shelves in key areas around the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet could trigger a runaway collapse process known as Marine Ice Sheet Instability. If this were to occur, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could potentially contribute 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) of global sea level rise within just a few centuries."
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