I liked him and I was really looking forward to his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
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He knew his colors and shapes, he learned more than 100 English words, and with his own brand of one-liners he established himself in TV shows, scientific reports, and news articles as perhaps the world’s most famous talking bird.
But last week Alex, an African Grey parrot, died, apparently of natural causes, said Dr. Irene Pepperberg, a comparative psychologist at Brandeis University and Harvard who studied and worked with the parrot for most of its life and published reports of his progress in scientific journals. The parrot was 31.
That was one smart bird. I’ve read about him several times over the years.
May 15 (Bloomberg) — Reverend Jerry Falwell, the Baptist minister who used television to bring his message to millions and then founded the Moral Majority to help politically mobilize the religious right, has died. He was 73.
The cause may have been a heart-rhythm abnormality, said cardiologist Carl Moore of Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia. Falwell was found without a pulse in his office in Lynchburg at 11:30 a.m. and pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m., Moore said. Falwell had a history of heart trouble.
Falwell started the Moral Majority in 1979 to organize Christians to be politically active. The group registered millions to vote and advocated for social and moral issues, including overturning the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. The Moral Majority, which disbanded in 1989, was partly responsible for the 1980 election of Republican President Ronald Reagan, said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Barnard College in New York.
Wonder what God will have to say to him.
May 3 (Bloomberg) — Walter M. “Wally” Schirra, one of the original Project Mercury astronauts, died today in California, almost a half-century after joining the program that sent the first Americans into space. He was 84.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center confirmed Schirra’s death. He was the only astronaut to fly in the first three U.S. space programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
The U.S. chose Schirra and Alan Shepard Jr., John Glenn, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and D.K. Slayton as the first seven astronauts for its Project Mercury program. Grissom died in 1967, Slayton in 1993, Shepard in 1998 and Cooper in 2004.
Sad. All these pioneers are dying off and we are rolling ever further backwards. It’s well over forty years since these guys did their thing and where are we now?
April 17, 1790: America Loses One of Its Most Inventive Minds -
1790: Benjamin Franklin dies.
Printer, newspaper publisher, statesman, inventor, scientist, patriot, revolutionary — no one, with the possible exception of Thomas Jefferson, cast a more imposing shadow over young America.
Franklin spent his working life as a printer and publisher and much of his legacy rests there. But his contributions to the scientific sphere were equally impressive.
Although not formally trained as a scientist, Franklin was hardly a duffer when he forayed into the field following his retirement from the printing trade. He possessed a keen intellect and a naturally logical and inquisitive mind, and his experiments with electricity, begun in the early 1750s, yielded results that led to a number of technological advances, the lightning rod and the electric battery among them.
Franklin’s work with electricity brought him international fame, several honorary degrees and membership in Britain’s Royal Society, but he was active in other areas, too. He studied weather closely and proposed better methods for tracking storm progression. He invented the catheter while trying to help his ill brother, and he conducted experiments to make agriculture more efficient.
Franklin retained a lifelong interest in science but the events of the day moved him inexorably toward the politics of revolution.
When Franklin died in 1790 at the age of 84, more than 20,000 people attended the funeral.
Kurt Vonnegut, Writer of Classics of the American Counterculture, Dies at 84 - New York Times
Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died Wednesday night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.
His death was reported by Morgan Entrekin, a longtime family friend, who said Mr. Vonnegut suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago.
VOA News - Director of Classic Christmas Movie Dies
U.S. filmmaker Bob Clark, who directed the classic A Christmas Story, has been killed in a head-on car crash at the age of 67.
Clark and his 22-year-old son were driving along a major highway near Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon when their car was struck head-on by another vehicle. Clark’s son was also killed in the crash. Authorities say the driver is facing charges in the case.
Sad news. I love that movie.