Thomas Stanley on Alter Destiny

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#1 Sun, 2011-01-30 16:55
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Thomas Stanley on Alter Destiny



Thomas Stanley will present a discussion at George Mason University near Washington DC, as follows:

"On
Wednesday, February 9, I will give a talk supported by multimedia on Sun Ra's concept of an alter destiny.  While Sun Ra was obviously a gifted musician and performer, I think
there is a tendency to dismiss his teachings as the outrageous spoken
word complement to his flamboyant stage presence. Nothing could be
further from the truth."

http://www.musicovermind.org/

Sun, 2011-01-30 18:05
Gary Lawrence Murphy
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Thomas Stanley on Alter Destiny

I am sadly unable to attend, but I am gleefully exploring that website.  Thanks.


On Sun, Jan 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM, Charles Blass <charles.blass@gmail.com> wrote:



Thomas Stanley will present a discussion at George Mason University near Washington DC, as follows:

"On
Wednesday, February 9, I will give a talk supported by multimedia on Sun Ra's concept of an alter destiny.  While Sun Ra was obviously a gifted musician and performer, I think
there is a tendency to dismiss his teachings as the outrageous spoken
word complement to his flamboyant stage presence. Nothing could be
further from the truth."

http://www.musicovermind.org/


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Wed, 2011-02-02 16:00 (Reply to #2)
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Thomas Stanley on Alter Destiny

See also:
http://eethelbertmiller1.blogspot.com/

Dr. Stanley On Point.
CB


On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 3:04 AM, Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@teledyn.com> wrote:

I am sadly unable to attend, but I am gleefully exploring that website.  Thanks.


On Sun, Jan 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM, Charles Blass <charles.blass@gmail.com> wrote:


Thomas Stanley will present a discussion at George Mason University near Washington DC, as follows:


"On
Wednesday, February 9, I will give a talk supported by multimedia on Sun Ra's concept of an alter destiny.  While Sun Ra was obviously a gifted musician and performer, I think
there is a tendency to dismiss his teachings as the outrageous spoken
word complement to his flamboyant stage presence. Nothing could be
further from the truth."

http://www.musicovermind.org/



The Execution of Sun Ra.



E-Notes talks with Dr. Thomas T. Stanley.
Dr. Stanley is currently a member of the School of Art faculty at George
Mason University where he teaches courses in sound art, hip hop,
cultural theory and writing. He hosts Late Night Jazz, heard alternating
Thursdays from 11PM-1AM on Pacifica affiliate WPFW (89.3FM).




Answers to three questions about the maestro of tone science.



HOW IMPORTANT IS SUN RA TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE?



I
would focus on the most literal interpretations of development. If the
synonyms for development are words like growth or progress, then I'm not
sure that Sun Ra's capacity for instigating development in African
American (or any other) culture has yet been released. Certainly he's a
profound marker. His work was deeply embedded in a living history of
Black music from the vernacular to the classical. But everything about
Sun Ra was based on the fascination with human potential, most evidenced
by his call for an activation of what he called our "alter destiny". In
Sun Ra's estimation there were a myriad of possible other ways that our
existential drama might be induced to unfold. The alter destiny was the
reactor core for the engine of Ra's profuse creativity. He looked out
at a world of warfare, exploitation, and bondage and declared: If this
is human nature, then, I'll be something else. Join me. Suffice it to
say, we ain't with him yet.






HOW SHOULD WE INTRODUCE SUN RA TO A NEW GENERATION?



Sun
Ra loved to vamp on the dual meaning of words. To him, the paradoxes
embedded in our use of language provided an opportunity for teaching the
inner workshops of the cosmic scheme. He would often remind us that the
word "execution" could mean to kill a man, but could also mean "to put a
plan in action." When Jesus was killed, Sonny taught, they put his plan
in action. this, if you think about it, is quite profound. No
crucifixion, no resurrection, no redemption. Sun Ra is now a potent
ancestor-spirit and his plan is being put into action right now. His
teachings, his dharma, cannot be divorced from his music. His incredible
output as a recording artist is still blossoming with a long list of
fresh releases surfacing as the Ra estate gets its act together. Sun Ra
is still dropping new music, still speaking to and hipping up the people
of planet earth.




Sun
Ra took the best of who we are as an African people with a cultural
history spanning thousands of years and distilled it into something of
enormous value that was about our future far more than our past. He was
our space program when they were only putting white male astronauts
(military men, I remind you) on the moon. Sun Ra said we are all
"children of the sun, each and everyone," so to be clear, Sonny's
mothership don't have no color bar, but that being said, it is not and
should not be cool for this unprecedented Black genius to be converted
into some kind of commodity fetish for pseudo-hip neo bohemians.




It is very hard to see documentarian Ken Burns' decision to completely omit Sun Ra from his 18-hour epic Jazz
as simply an act of editorial parsimony. Ra's astro-black futurism and
the powerful music it inspired would have been impossible to contain
within Burns' cloying narrative of American-centur positivism. But Sun
Ra can only be white-balled out of history if Black folk don't exercise
our ownership of Sun Ra and his Arkestra as an integral chapter of our
cultural heritage, as opposed to an eccentric appendage. We lost Jimi
Hendrix in much the same way. Based on When the Levees Broke and 4 Little Girls,
Spike Lee is as least as good a documentary filmmaker as Burns. Maybe
Lee can take on the rich nuances of Sun Ra's improbable story. Sun Ra's
thing was deep, full of light and laughter, but he was no joke. We have
to give him to the next generation in just this way. We should teach
them not only what Sun Ra did, but where his great body of work was
pointing.






WHAT'S THE FIRST SUN RA RECORDING ONE SHOULD LISTEN TO?





This
is almost an impossible question to address. There are so many, many
recordings. I bought my first two Sun Ra discs off a record rack
maintained by Jimmy "Blackfire" Grey in a health food store on H Street.
During his lifetime, Sun Ra made scores of limited pressing vinyl
records. The two I copped back in the early eighties were hand-labeled
"Nidhamu" and "Starwatchers" [sic]. I had to see Sun Ra first before I
could really understand how to listen to his records. That being the
case, I might recommend the soundtrack to Space is the Place.
It's got great versions of some of Ra's standards like "Satellites Are
Spinning" and "We'll Wait for You" but also includes enigmatic rarities
like "Discipline 33" and "Under Different Stars." Shot in the Bay Area
in 1972, Space is the Place is a film titled after a Ra chant/song that
casts Sonny as himself saying and doing things that Sun Ra might say or
do in the context of a campy blaxploitation plot line. The late David
Mills introduced me to this underground treasure as a VHS tape after
Ra's earthly departure in 1993. It has since been released as a DVD with
director John Coney's authorized version. Like any good Blaxplo epic,
Coney's original version was sprinkled with its share of gratuitous
frontal nudity and sex. But when the film was released in 1974, Sun Ra -
an avowed aesexual- wouldn't clear it with the salacious material. The
VHS version I saw in Larry Alexander's basement was Ra's cut and it made
me cry. While I'm giving dap to this important film, I would like to take
the opportunity to publicly ask John Coney and all others involved to
include the Ra-cut in all future DVD/Blueray releases. Without the boobs
this film is a beautiful classroom aid and a great way to introduce
young people to Sun Ra's music and message.



 


Thu, 2011-02-03 01:40 (Reply to #3)
Margaret Grimes
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More from Kepler: "Those little guys are still there"






href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/science/03planet.html">http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/science/03planet.html
size=6>

Kepler Planet Hunter Finds 1,200
Possibilities



By Dennis Overbye


February 2, 2011


In a long-awaited announcement, scientists
operating NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting satellite reported on Wednesday that they
had identified 1,235 possible planets orbiting other stars, potentially tripling
the number of known planets.


Of the new candidates, 68 are one and a
quarter times the size of the Earth or smaller — smaller, that is, than any
previously discovered planets outside the solar system, which are known as
exoplanets. Fifty-four of the possible exoplanets are in the so-called habitable
zones of stars dimmer and cooler than the Sun, where temperatures should be
moderate enough for liquid water.


Astronomers said that it would take years to
confirm that all of these candidates were really planets — by using ground-based
telescopes to measure their masses, for example, or inspecting them to see if
background stars are causing optical mischief. Many of them might never be
vetted because of the dimness of their stars and the lack of telescope time and
astronomers to do it all. But statistical tests of a sample suggest that 80 to
95 percent of the objects on it are real, as opposed to blips in the data.


“It boggles the mind,” said the Kepler team’s
leader, William Borucki, of the Ames Research Center in Northern California.


At first glance, not one of them appears to
be another Earth, the kind of cosmic Eden fit for life as we know it, but the
new results represent only four months’ worth of data on a three-and-a-half-year
project, and have left astronomers optimistic that they will eventually find
Earth-like planets.


“For the first time in human history, we have
a pool of potentially rocky habitable-zone planets,” said Sara Seager of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who works with Kepler. “This is the first
big step forward to answering the ancient question, ‘How common are other
Earths?’ ”


At a news conference at NASA headquarters in
Washington on Wednesday, Mr. Borucki noted that the Kepler telescope surveys
only one four-hundredth of the sky. If it could see the whole sky, he said, “we
would see 400,000 candidates.” He is the lead author of a paper describing the
new results that has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.


In a separate announcement, to be published
in the journal Nature on Thursday, a group of Kepler astronomers led by Jack
Lissauer of Ames said it had found a star with six planets — the most Kepler has
yet discovered around one star — orbiting in close ranks in the same plane, no
farther from their star than Mercury is from the Sun.


This dense packing, Dr. Lissauer said, seems
to violate all the rules astronomers have begun to discern about how planetary
systems form and evolve.


“This is sending me back to the drawing
board,” he said.


Summarizing the news from the cosmos,
Geoffrey W. Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, a veteran exoplanet
hunter and a mainstay of the Kepler work, said, “There are so many messages here
that it’s hard to know where to begin.”


He called the Borucki team’s announcement “an
extraordinary planet windfall, a moment that will be written in textbooks. It
will be thought of as watershed.”


Debra Fischer, an astronomer at Yale who is
not part of the Kepler team, said, “This is an amazing era of discovery for
astronomy.” Kepler, she added, had “blown the lid off everything we thought we
knew about exoplanets.”


Kepler, launched into orbit around the Sun in
March 2009, stares at a patch of the Milky Way near the Northern Cross,
measuring the brightness of 156,000 stars every 30 minutes, looking for a
pattern of dips that would be caused by planets crossing in front of their suns.


The goal is to assess the frequency of
Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars. But in the four months of data
analyzed so far, a similar telescope looking at our own Sun would have been
lucky to have seen the Earth pass even once. Three transits are required for a
planet to show up in Kepler’s elaborate data-processing pipeline, which means
that Kepler’s next scheduled data release, in June 2012, could be a moment of
truth for the mission.


For dimmer and cooler stars, the habitable,
or “Goldilocks,” zone, would be smaller, however, and planets in it would rack
up transits more quickly.


Scientists had eagerly anticipated
Wednesday’s data release since June, when Kepler scientists issued their first
list of some 300 stars that were suspected of harboring planets but held back
another 400 for study. In the intervening months, Mr. Borucki said, some of
those candidates have been eliminated, but hundreds more have been added that
would otherwise have been reported in June.


One of the 400 was a Sun-like star about
2,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus that went by the name
of KOI 157, for Kepler Object of Interest. In the spring of 2009, astronomers
noticed that it seemed to have five candidate planets, four with nearly the same
orbital periods, and in the same plane, like an old vinyl record, Dr. Lissauer
said. Two of them came so close that every 50 days one of them would look as
large as a full moon as seen from the other, Dr. Lissauer calculated.


“I got very interested in this system,” Dr.
Lissauer said. “Five was the most we had around any target.” Moreover, the
planets’ proximity to one another meant that they would interact
gravitationally, allowing them to be weighed. In the fall, a sixth planet — the
innermost — was found.


By measuring the slight variations in transit
times caused by the gravitational interference of the inner five planets with
one another, Dr. Lissauer and his colleagues were able to calculate their masses
and densities. These measurements confirmed they were so-called super-Earths,
with masses ranging from 2 to 13 times that of the Earth. But they were also
puffy, probably containing mixtures of rock, water and gas, rather than being
pure rock like another super-Earth, Kepler 10b, a hunk of lava whose existence
was announced last month at a meeting in Seattle. Dr. Lissauer described them as
“sort of like marshmallows with a little hard-candy core.”


As a result, Dr. Lissauer said, “super-Earths
might not resemble Earth at all. They may be more like Neptune than Earth-like.”


Alan Boss, a planetary theorist at the
Carnegie Institution of Washington, said the Kepler 11 system, as it is now
known, should “keep theorists busy and off the streets for a long time.”


Mr. Borucki said the growing number of small
planets revealed by Kepler was a welcome change from the early days of exoplanet
research, when most of the planets discovered were Jupiter-size giants hugging
their stars in close orbits, leading theorists to speculate that smaller planets
might be thrown outward from their stars by gravitational forces or dragged
right into those suns.


“Those little guys are still there,” he said,
“and we’re delighted to see them.”


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