The Revenant

imageI have recently watched The Revenant. This grueling and visceral BAFTA and OSCAR nominated American Western Adventure Epic was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith. It is based in part on Michael Punke’s The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, the film is inspired by the experiences of real life frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass. Set in 1823 Montana and South Dakota the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Glass, and co-stars Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson.

It features a group of hunters and trappers who are hunting for pelts in the harsh unforgiving wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase under the command of Captain Andrew Henry. They are ambushed by Arikara tribesmen, luckily Some of the hunters manage to escape, salvaging as much as they can. Unfortunately Hugh Glass, one of the experienced hunters, is separated from the group during the attack and is almost fatally mauled by a mother grizzly bear who is protecting her cubs. Although Glass escapes he nearly dies and the hunting party can only provide rudimentary medical care. The party takes the wounded Glass with them, however he slows their progress so One of the members, John Fitzgerald, suggests killing him so they can move faster, however Henry cannot bring himself to kill Glass so instead he suggests two boys (Jim Bridger and Glass’ son Hawk) stay behind with Glass while hey get help. Fitzgerald also volunteers to stay but tries to kill Glass and Hawk.

Eventually Henry, Fitzgerald, Bridger and the other survivors return to their dilapidated barracks outpost, and Fitzgerald lies to Henry about Glass and Hawk and receives a reward. Meanwhile, Glass regains consciousness and tries to returns home but is attacked by hostile Arikara, whose Chief is looking for his kidnapped daughter, Powaqa. He survives this encounter and is rescued by a Pawnee who treats his wounds and gives him shelter. Sadly though The Pawnee is killed by a group of French traders camped nearby who have kidnapped Powaqa but Glass rescues Powaqa, and Has another run- in with hostile Arikara. Back at the outpost, a desperate lone Frenchman is found carrying Glass’ canteen. so they organize a search party to find Hawk and discover Glass alive. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald, flees with the outpost’s money before Glass can confront him and discredit his heroics. So Glass suggest that he and Henry locate and bring Fitzgerald back dead or alive…

Stasi Child by David Young

I would like to read The atmospheric and exciting thriller novel Stasi Child by David Young. Set in East Berlin in 1975, it features Oberleutnant Karin Muller and her deputy, Unterleutnant Werner Tilsner. The book begins when Muller and her team from the Kriminalpolizei (“Kripo”) are called to investigate the mutilated body of a young girl by the Berlin Wall – or, as it is named in East Germany, the ‘Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier.’

Both Muller and Tilsner are wary when a Stasi officer, Klaus Jager, of the Ministry for State Security (a.k.a the “Stasi”) shows up and begins giving orders and that they will be assisting him, at his request. Even the Kriminalpolizei are wary of The Stasi, who ruthlessly spy on East Germans through technical surveillance and a vast network of informers, and can make any citizen disappear at any time. Jäger makes it clear that Karin Müller’s Kripo team is to focus on identifying the victim and do nothing else, especially nothing to try to solve the murder.

When Müller and her team seem to stray from Jäger’s orders, he is quick to show her that he has the power to keep her in line, through his intimate knowledge of her private life and her husband’s. Müller’s investigation takes her to the rugged North Sea coast and to the Harz Mountains, as they trace the murdered girl through a labyrinth of Kafkaesque state institutions. Determined to get justice for the girl, Müller will risk her marriage, her career and even her life when she realises that this is no normal case of a youth attempting to jump the wall, as this girl seems to have been fleeing from the West and escaping into the East…

Heinrich Hertz

HeinrichHertzPioneering German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was born February 22, in 1857. He expanded on the electromagnetic theory of light which had been put forth by Maxwell & was the first to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves by engineering instruments to transmit and receive radio pulses using experimental procedures that eliminated other known wireless phenomena. He studied at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums in Hamburg, and showed an aptitude for sciences as well as languages, learning Arabic and Sanskrit. He also studied sciences and engineering in the German cities of Dresden, Munich and Berlin, where he studied under Gustav R. Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz. In 1880, Hertz obtained his PhD from the University of Berlin; and remained for post-doctoral study under Hermann von Helmholtz. In 1883, Hertz became a lecturer in theoretical physics at the University of Kiel, and In 1885, Hertz became a full professor at the University of Karlsruhe where he discovered electromagnetic waves. The most dramatic prediction of Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, published in 1865, was the existence of electromagnetic waves moving at the speed of light, and the conclusion that light itself was just such a wave. This challenged experimentalists to generate and detect electromagnetic radiation using some form of electrical apparatus.

The first clearly successful attempt was made by Heinrich Hertz in 1886. For his radio wave transmitter he used a high voltage induction coil, a condenser (capacitor, Leyden jar) and a spark gap — whose poles on either side are formed by spheres of 2 cm radius — to cause a spark discharge between the spark gap’s poles oscillating at a frequency determined by the values of the capacitor and the induction coil. Hertz also had a deep interest in meteorology probably derived from his contacts with Wilhelm von Bezold (who was Hertz’s professor in a laboratory course at the Munich Polytechnic in the summer of 1878). Hertz, however, did not contribute much to the field himself except some early articles as an assistant to Helmholtz in Berlin, including research on the evaporation of liquids, a new kind of hygrometer, and a graphical means of determining the properties of moist air when subjected to adiabatic changes.

Between 1886 and 1889, Hertz published two articles on the field of contact mechanics and is well known for his contributions to the field of electrodynamics, his two papers were a source for some important ideas and established that contact mechanics is of immense importance. His work basically summarises how two axi-symmetric objects placed in contact will behave under loading, he obtained results based upon the classical theory of elasticity and continuum mechanics. In 1886, Hertz developed the Hertz antenna receiver, He also developed a transmitting type of dipole antenna for transmitting UHF radio waves. In 1887, Hertz experimented with radio waves in his laboratory. These actions followed Michelson’s 1881 experiment, which did not detect the existence of aether drift. Hertz altered the equations to take this view into account for electromagnetism. Hertz published his work in a book titled: Electric waves: being researches on the propagation of electric action with finite velocity through space.

Sadly In 1892, after undergoing surgery He died of Wegener’s granulomatosis on January 1, 1894 at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany in 1894, and was buried in Ohlsdorf, Hamburg at the Jewish cemetery.  His nephew Gustav Ludwig Hertz was also a Nobel Prize winner, and Gustav’s son Carl Hellmuth Hertz invented medical ultrasonography. The SI unit hertz (Hz) was established in his honor by the IEC in 1930 for frequency, an expression of the number of times that a repeated event occurs per second. It was adopted by the CGPM (Conférence générale des poids et mesures) in 1960, officially replacing the previous name, the “cycle per second” (cps). In 1969 (East Germany), a Heinrich Hertz memorial medal was cast. The IEEE Heinrich Hertz Medal, established in 1987, is “for outstanding achievements in Hertzian waves presented annually to an individual for achievements which are theoretical or experimental in nature”.A crater that lies on the far side of the Moon, is named in his honor. The Hertz market for radioelectronics products in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, is named after him. The Heinrich-Hertz-Turm radio telecommunication tower in Hamburg is named after the city’s famous son. Hertz is honored by Japan with a membership in the Order of the Sacred Treasure, which has multiple layers of honor for prominent people, including scientists. Heinrich Hertz has been honored by a number of countries around the world in their postage issues, and in post-World War II times has appeared on various German stamp issues as well.

Andy Warhol

imagesPop Artist Andy Warhol sadly passed away on 22nd February 1987, and being a big fan of Velvet Underground and the Artwork of American Artist Andy Warhol I thought I would pay tribute. Born August 6, 1928. He was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to a single artist. Warhol’s artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.

Andy-Warhol-paintingWarhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold. he started his career as a commercial illustrator, producing drawings in “blotted-ink” style for advertisements and magazine articles. Best known of these early works are his drawings of shoes. Some of his personal drawings were self-published in small booklets, such as Yum, Yum, Yum (about food), Ho, Ho, Ho (about Christmas) and Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. His most artistically acclaimed book of drawings is probably A Gold Book, compiled of sensitive drawings of young men. A Gold Book is so named because of the gold leaf that decorates its pages. In April 2012 a sketch of 1930s singer Rudy Vallee thought to be drawn by Andy Warhol was found at a Las Vegas garage sale. By the beginning of the 1960s, Warhol had become a very successful commercial illustrator. His detailed and elegant drawings for I. Miller shoes were particularly popular. They consisted mainly of “blotted ink” drawings (or monoprints), a technique which he applied in much of his early art. Although many artists of this period worked in commercial art, most did so discreetly. Warhol was so successful, however, that his profile as an illustrator seemed to undermine his efforts to be taken seriously as an artist.

Velvet_Underground_and_NicoPop art was an experimental form made popular by Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, who would become famous as the “Pope of Pop”. His early paintings feature images taken from cartoons and advertisements, hand-painted with paint drips. Those drips emulated the style of successful abstract expressionists (such as Willem de Kooning). Warhol’s first pop art paintings were displayed in April 1961, serving as the backdrop for New York Department Store Bronwit Teller’s window display. his Pop Art contemporaries Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg had also featured. Eventually, Warhol Images featured just brand names, celebrities, dollar signs. He loved celebrities, so he painted them as well, frequently using silk-screening. In 1979, Warhol was commissioned by BMW to paint a Group 4 race version of the BMW M1 for the BMW Art Car Project. Warhol produced both comic and serious works; his subject could be a soup can or an electric chair. Warhol used the same techniques — silkscreens, reproduced serially, and often painted with bright colors — whether he painted celebrities, everyday objects, or images of suicide, car crashes, and disasters, as in the 1962–1963 Death and Disaster series. The Death and Disaster paintings included Red Car Crash, Purple Jumping Man, and Orange Disaster.

Warhol’s was also a sculptor and his most famous sculpture is probably his Brillo Boxes, silkscreened ink on wood replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes (designed by James Harvey), part of a series of “grocery carton” sculptures that also included Heinz ketchup and Campbell’s tomato juice cases.Other famous works include the Silver Clouds — helium filled, silver mylar, pillow-shaped balloons. A Silver Cloud was included in the traveling exhibition Air Art (1968–1969) curated by Willoughby Sharp. Clouds was also adapted by Warhol for avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham’s dance piece RainForest (1968).Warhol also made two cable television shows, Andy Warhol’s TV in 1982 and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes (based on his famous “fifteen minutes of fame” quotation) for MTV in 1986. Besides his own shows he regularly made guest appearances on other programs, including The Love Boat wherein a Midwestern wife (Marion Ross) fears Andy Warhol will reveal to her husband (Tom Bosley, who starred alongside Ross in sitcom Happy Days) her secret past as a Warhol superstar named Marina del Rey. Warhol also produced a TV commercial for Schrafft’s Restaurants in New York City, for an ice cream dessert appropriately titled the “Underground Sundae”.

during the 1960s, Warhol adopted the band the Velvet Underground, making them a crucial element of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia performance art show. Warhol, with Paul Morrissey, acted as the band’s manager, introducing them to Nico (who would perform with the band at Warhol’s request). In 1966 he “produced” their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico, as well as providing its album art. His actual participation in the album’s production amounted to simply paying for the studio time. After the band’s first album, Warhol and band leader Lou Reed started to disagree more about the direction the band should take, and their artistic friendship ended, after Warhol’s death, Reed and John Cale re-united for the first time since 1972 to write, perform, record and release the concept album Songs for Drella, a tribute to Warhol.Warhol also designed many album covers for various artists starting with the photographic cover of John Wallowitch’s debut album, This Is John Wallowitch!!! (1964). He designed the cover art for the Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers (1971) and Love You Live (1977), and the John Cale albums The Academy in Peril (1972) and Honi Soit in 1981. In 1975, Warhol was commissioned to do several portraits of Mick Jagger, and in 1982 he designed the album cover for the Diana Ross album Silk Electric. One of his last works was a portrait of Aretha Franklin for the cover of her 1986 gold album Aretha, which was done in the style of the Reigning Queens series he had completed the year before.Warhol strongly influenced the New Wave/punk rock band Devo, as well as David Bowie. Bowie recorded a song called “Andy Warhol” for his 1971 album Hunky Dory. Lou Reed wrote the song “Andy’s Chest”, about Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Warhol, in 1968. He recorded it with the Velvet Underground, and this version was released on the VU album in 1985.

Warhol  worked in fashion and met Edie Sedgwick. Warhol’s work in fashion includes silkscreened dresses, a short sub-career as a catwalk-model and books on fashion as well as paintings with fashion (shoes) as a subject. Warhol and his friends staged theatrical multimedia happenings at parties and public venues, combining music, film, slide projections and even Gerard Malanga in an S&M outfit cracking a whip. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable in 1966 was the culmination of this area of his work.

Andy Warhol also worked in theatre and his production Pork played at LaMama theater in New York for a two-week run and was brought to the Roundhouse in London for a longer run in August 1971. Pork was based on tape-recorded conversations between Brigid Berlin and Andy during which Brigid would play for Andy tapes she had made of phone conversations between herself and her mother, socialite Honey Berlin. The play featured Jayne County as “Vulva” and Cherry Vanilla as “Amanda Pork”. In 1974, Andy Warhol also produced the stage musical Man On The Moon, which was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Warhol was an excellent photographer, whose pictures were mostly taken with a specific model of Polaroid camera that Polaroid kept in production especially for Warhol. This photographic approach to painting and his snapshot method of taking pictures has had a great effect on artistic photography. he took an enormous amount of photographs of Factory visitors, friends. Sadly though Warhol passed away on February 22nd, 1987 In New York City after making a good recovery from a routine gallbladder surgery at New York Hospital before dying in his sleep from a sudden post-operative cardiac arrhythmia

Niki Lauda

imageFormula One legend Niki Lauda was born on 22 February 1949 in Vienna, Austria, His paternal grandfather was the Viennese-born businessman Hans Lauda. Lauda became a racing driver despite his family’s disapproval. After starting out with a Mini, Lauda moved on into Formula Vee, but rapidly moved up to drive in private Porsche and Chevron sports cars. Then he got into the fledgling March team as a Formula Two (F2) driver in 1971. He was quickly promoted to the F1 team, but drove for March in F1 and F2 in 1972. Although the F2 cars were good March’s 1972 F1 season was catastrophic so Lauda, joined the BRM team in 1973. Lauda was instantly quick. However his big break came when his BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni left to rejoin Ferrari in 1974 and team owner Enzo Ferrari asked Regazzoni to suggest a replacement and he recommended Lauda.

During the 1970s, Ferrari s fortunes revived under Luca di Montezemolo and Lauda finished second-place at the 1970 Argentine Grand Prix and won the Spanish Grand Prix after achieving six consecutive pole positions however, a mixture of inexperience and mechanical unreliability meant Lauda won only one more race that year, the Dutch GP. He finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.The 1975 F1 season started slowly for Lauda, not finishing higher than fifth in the first four races but he then won four out of the next five races in the new Ferrari 312T. His first World Championship was confirmed with a third place finish at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza; Lauda’s teammate Regazzoni won the race and Ferrari clinched their first constructor’s championship. Lauda won the race of the year, the United States GP. He also became the first driver to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under 7 minutes. Never one to be awed by the trappings of success, Lauda famously gave away any trophies he won to his local garage in exchange for his car to be washed and serviced. despite tensions between Lauda and di Montezemolo’s successor, Daniele Audetto, Lauda dominated the start of the 1976 F1 season, winning four of the first six races and finishing second in the other two. By the time of his fifth win of the year at the British GP, he had more than double the points of his closest challengers Jody Scheckter and James Hunt, and a second consecutive World Championship appeared a formality. It would be a feat not achieved since Jack Brabham’s victories in 1959 and 1960. He also looked set to win the most races in a season, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963.

A week before the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Lauda urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race, largely due to the 23 kilometre circuit’s safety arrangements. Most of the other drivers voted against the boycott and the race went ahead. On 1 August 1976 during the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Lauda’s Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames and rolled back into the path of Brett Lunger’s Surtees-Ford car. Unlike Lunger, Lauda was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Lunger, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they were able to pull Lauda from his car, he suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood. As Lauda was wearing a modified helmet, the foam had compressed and it slid off his head after the accident, leaving his face exposed to the fire. Although Lauda was conscious and able to stand immediately after the accident, he later lapsed into a coma. Lauda suffered extensive scarring from the burns to his head, losing most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, his eyebrows and his eyelids. He chose to limit reconstructive surgery to replacing the eyelids and getting them to work properly. Since the accident he has always worn a cap to cover the scars on his head.

Lauda was replaced by Carlos Reutemann and Ferrari boycotted the Austrian GP in protest against McLaren driver James Hunt at the Spanish and British GPs. Surprisingly, Lauda returned to race only six weeks (two races) later, at Monza and finished fourth in the Italian GP where he wore a specially adapted AGV crash helmet so as to not be in too much discomfort. In Lauda’s absence, Hunt had reduced Lauda’s lead in the World Championship standings and stood three points behind Lauda before the final race of the season, the Japanese GP. Lauda qualified third, one place behind Hunt, but retired after two laps. Hunt led much of the race before his tires blistered and an inevitable pit stop dropped him down the order. He recovered to 3rd, and won the title by a single point. Niki Lauda’s incredible rivalry with James Hunt is also the subject of the film Rush starring Chris Hemsworth. Lauda had a difficult 1977 season, despite winning the championship. Lauda disliked his new teammate, Reutemann, and felt he had been let down by Ferrari so he announced his decision to quit Ferrari at season’s end, Lauda left earlier due to the team’s decision to run the unknown Gilles Villeneuve in a third car at the Canadian Grand Prix. Five years after his first retirement, Lauda won his third title driving a McLaren MP4/2. having joined Brabham in 1978 for a $1 million salary, Lauda endured two unsuccessful seasons, notable mainly for his one race in the Brabham BT46B, a radical design known as the Fan Car: it won its first and only race at the Swedish GP, but Brabham did not use the car in F1 again; after other teams vigorously protested the fan car’s legality. Lauda next drove the Brabham BT46 Alfa Romeo which began the 1978 season at the third race in South Africa. The BT46 suffered from a variety of mostly minor troubles that forced Lauda to retire the car 9 out of 14 races. However, when it ran it ran well, with Lauda winning the sole outing of the fan car in Sweden, and also winning in Italy, as well as 2nd in Montreal and Great Britain, and a 3rd in the Netherlands. At the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, Lauda informed Brabham that he wished to retire immediately, as he had no more desire to “drive around in circles”. Lauda, who had founded a charter airline, returned to Austria to run the company full-time.

In 1982 Lauda returned to racing, feeling that he still had a career in Formula One. After a successful test with McLaren, the only problem was in convincing then team sponsor Marlboro that he was still capable of winning. Lauda won the Long Beach Grand Prix. Before the race at the Kyalami race track in South Africa, Lauda organised a ‘drivers’ strike over the new contracts, and The drivers, with the exception of Teo Fabi, barricaded themselves in a banqueting suite at Sunnyside Park Hotel until they won. Lauda won a third world championship in 1984 by half a point over teammate Alain Prost, due only to half points being awarded for the shortened 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. he also won the Austrian Grand Prix. Initially, Lauda did not want Prost to become his teammate, as he presented a much faster rival. However, during the two seasons together, they had a good relationship. The whole season continued to be dominated by Lauda and Prost, who won 12 of 16 races. Lauda won five races, while Prost was able to win seven Grands Prix. However, Lauda, who was able to set records for most Pole Position in a season during the 1975 season, rarely matched his teammate in qualifying. Despite this, Lauda’s championship win came in Estoril, when he had to start in eleventh place on the grid, while Prost qualified on the front row. However, Lauda was able to come in second and claimed the title. 1985 was a poor season for Lauda, with eleven retirements from the fourteen races he started. He did not start the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps after crashing and breaking his wrist during practice, and he later missed the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. He did manage 4th at the San Marino Grand Prix, 5th at the German Grand Prix, and a single race win at the Dutch Grand Prix. This proved to be his last Grand Prix victory and also the last Formula One Grand Prix held in the Netherlands. He retired for good at the end of that season.