Cockcroft-Walton Accelerator, KEK, Japan, 2008, photographed by Stanley Greenberg:
There's a book, too.
If this looks a bit old-school (nuclear punk?), well, it is:
1932 saw the announcement of the first apparatus for artificially accelerating atomic particles to high energies: the Cockcroft-Walton accelerator. And, barely a month later, beams of high-energy protons produced by this machine were used to initiate the disintegration of lithium nuclei, and thereby confirm the equivalence of mass and energy.
Next stop, Hiroshima.
You can read about KEK, Japan's High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, here.
Here's the story:
A number of elite officials have been executed for watching South Korean and obscene materials, an inside source from the North Korean capital has reported to Daily NK.
The source from Pyongyang reported on November 28th, “In late October a total of eight people were executed by firing squad at Kim Il Sung Political University.” The eight individuals reportedly include Ministry of Public Security branch heads from both Nampo and Suncheon. According to the source, “I hear they were caught watching South Korean TV programs and videos featuring nude women.”
That's a quaint phrase - "videos featuring nude women". I think we know what they mean.
There's been quite a stir on this front recently after the execution of Kim Jong-un' former girl-friend Hyon Song-wol, and other members of the celebrated Unhasu Orchestra, for supposedly appearing in pornographic videos. Speculation was rife that Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un's fragrant young wife, may herself, as a former member of said orchestra, have indulged in similar frolics - accusations that prompted fury in official news reports. So yes, it's a delicate subject.
This follows on from reports a few weeks back that around 80 people were publicly executed for watching South Korean movies or distributing pornography in seven provincial cities.
The South Korean connection would seem to be the more significant transgression. Why would the authorities be so concerned about pornography?
Unless, of course, someone, somewhere has a video of a nude first lady.
The other blues diva Smith. Not Bessie....Mamie, from 1935:
A mannered performance, perhaps - but no worse for that. She was really more a vaudeville artist than a straight blues singer. Her main claim to fame though is that she was the first black artist to make a vocal blues recording:
On August 10, 1920, in New York City, Smith recorded a set of songs written by the African-American songwriter Perry Bradford, including "Crazy Blues" and "It's Right Here For You (If You Don't Get It, 'Tain't No Fault of Mine)", on Okeh Records. It was the first recording of vocal blues by an African-American artist, and the record became a best seller, selling a million copies in less than a year. To the surprise of record companies, large numbers of the record were purchased by African Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records. Because of the historical significance of "Crazy Blues", it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994, and, in 2005, was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.
Although other African Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were African-American artists performing music which had a substantial following with European-American audiences. The success of Smith's record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues. It also opened up the music industry to recordings by, and for, African Americans in other genres.
The "Harlem Blues" here is a re-working of "Crazy Blues". The Juanita Hall Singers, playing cards over at the side there, take over at the end to great effect. The "club" looks more like someone's back parlour, with wallpaper and a Welsh dresser. Odd. The domestication of the blues?
Update: tonight's BBC4 "Woke Up This Morning" looks promising. Here's a preview, with Miche Braden doing an acappella version of "Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer". And here's Bessie Smith's 1933 original.
A study at Cairo's Al Azhar university details some of the fatwas issued under former President Morsi's short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime:
The Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm summarized some of the Al Azhar study's main findings and assertions on November 15 in a article entitled (in translation), "Muslim Brotherhood fatwas: A woman swimming is an 'adulteress' and touching bananas is 'forbidden.'"
According to the report, "fatwas issued by both groups [Brotherhood and Salafis] regard women as strange creatures created solely for sex. They considered the voices of women, their looks and presence outside the walls of their homes an 'offence.' Some went as far as to consider women as a whole 'offensive.'"...
The study similarly revealed that some of these fatwas decreed that women who swim in the sea are committing "adultery" -- even if they wear a hijab: "The reason behind this particular fatwa, from their point of view, is that the sea is masculine [as with many other languages, Arabic nouns are gender specific, and "sea" is masculine], and when the water touches the woman's private parts she becomes an 'adulteress' and should be punished."
Moreover, "Some of these fatwas also forbade women from eating certain vegetables or even touching cucumbers or bananas," due to their phallic imagery, which may tempt women to deviate.
Other fatwas decreed that "it is unacceptable for women to turn the air conditioning on at home during the absence of their husbands as this could be used as a sign to indicate to neighbors that the woman is at home alone and any of them could commit adultery with her."...
Another stated that a marriage is annulled if the husband and wife copulate with no clothes on.
Lara Pawson at CiF writes about Angola, and our shameful silence:
What do Britain's journalists look for in a story from the African continent? How about a 71-year-old dictator who's presided over an oil-rich country for 34 years, lining his family's pockets with billions of dollars, and who extinguishes his opponents by torturing them to death and feeding their bodies to crocodiles? It's almost too good to be true – a cliche of the African state to have foreign correspondents drooling. But despite possessing all the ingredients of a thoroughly gripping news story, British media interest in Angola's contemporary political stage remains close to zero.
Today, in the Angolan capital of Luanda, a funeral will be held for 28-year-old Manuel de Carvalho, known as Ganga, who was allegedly shot dead by the presidential guard on Saturday morning. Ganga had been distributing leaflets about the killing of two former Angolan soldiers,António Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Sebastião Cassule, who were abducted in May 2012 while organising a demonstration for war veterans demanding payment of their pensions. Information leaked last week to the independent news website Club-K revealed that the two former soldiers had been tortured in police custody before being killed. One of them was then thrown to crocodiles.
Hours after Ganga's death, hundreds of Angolans took to Luanda's streets in a demonstration organised by the main opposition party, Unita, to demand justice for the deaths of Kamulingue and Cassule. In response, armed police, supported by reinforcements in helicopters, used tear gas to break up the protest. Hundreds of people were arrested and at least one was shot and injured....
I've long moaned about the BBC's idea of Africa, and the way its star presenters tackle stories coming out of the vast, complex continent. But in the case of Angola – one of Africa's most significant economic and military players – the failure of the BBC has little to do with impartiality. Currently, there is no BBC reporter based in Angola at all. Two years ago, "as a result of cuts", it also closed down the Portuguese for Africa department. I've given up asking why, however I'm certain that our colonial history and our very British attitude to language remain influential: "Portuguese, isn't it?". Of course, if Saturday's events in Luanda had taken place in Harare, we'd never hear the end of it – and questions of impartiality might become more pertinent.
Well yes - it's true enough that people here, in general, know far more about Zimbabwe than they do about Angola. I have no idea why the BBC decided not to cover Angola any more, but it may well be that our colonial past has something to do with it, in the sense that Zimbabwe/Rhodesia is part of our history in a way that Angola isn't. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but yes, in an ideal world we should all know more about Angola and the depredations of the ruling MPLA.
Isn't there another side to this, though? - and one which shines an unwelcome light not on our colonial past, but on the fantasies of the Left. In the late Seventies, when the civil war in Angola was raging after the departure of the Portuguese, there was no doubt who were the goodies. On one side was Unita, headed by the nasty Jonas Savimbi and backed by apartheid South Africa (and the De Beers Corporation) and the US, alongside Mobutu's Zaire, with much talk of diamond smuggling and other such unsavoury goings-on. On the other side were the MPLA, aided by brave Cuban troops with Soviet backing. I can still remember the heroic songs - MPLA by reggae toaster Tapper Zukie somehow sticks in the mind. It was a glorious cause.
And.....well, it turned out to be the same old story: liberation movement with Marxist credentials turns into despotic hell-hole:
At its first congress, in 1977, the MPLA adopted Marxism-Leninism as the party ideology and added Partido do Trabalho (Labour Party) to its name.
After Nito Alves's attempted coup in 1977, Neto ordered the killing of suspected followers and sympathisers of "orthodox communism" inside and outside the party. Thousands of people were estimated to have been killed by Cuban and MPLA troops in the aftermath over a period that lasted up to two years, with some estimates claiming as high as 70,000 dead. After the violent internal conflict called Fractionism, it made it clear that it would follow the socialist, not the communist model. However, it maintained close ties with the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc, establishing socialist economic policies and a one-party state. Several thousand Cuban troops remained in the country to combat UNITA fighters and bolster the regime's security.
Not a story that many will be familiar with, though there is a depressing parallel with Zimbabwe.
So yes, let's have more coverage of Angola by all means. And some history lessons as well.