Most Dramatic Photo Ever Taken From Space

OMG!  Another reason you too should be signed up for Space Weather!

Perfect timing. On June 12th, just as Russia’s Sarychev Peak volcano was erupting for the first time in 20 years, the International Space Station flew directly overhead. Astronauts had their camera ready and snapped one of the most dramatic Earth-science photos ever taken from space.

Click on the photo for a high resolution look.

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President Obama Needs To Make Statement on Michael Jackson’s Death

UPDATED

When Elvis Presley died in 1977  President Jimmy Carter issued a statement on the passing of a cultural icon and musical legend.  Considering the world-wide impact that Michael Jackson was, and the fact he was the product of America, I think it essential that President Obama make a statement.  As of this writing he has not done so.  And it is a glaring absence.  One need not embrace all parts of Michael Jackson’s life to make the point that he was a musical phenomenon that requires recognition, and respect at this time.

Mr. President, the world is waiting.  This is not enough.

Here are the words used by President Carter at the time of Elvis Presley’s death.

Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.

Pictures: Newspaper Front Pages Report Michael Jackson Death

A sampling of what the front pages of the morning newspapers look like today as one of the biggest headlines of the year is printed.  This is the type of day when folks want to buy an extra paper as a keepsake.  (What will people do on days like this when newspaper no longer exist?)

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Statement From Walter Cronkite’s Family

Updating my readers on the latest news about Walter Cronkite.

Walter Cronkite, legendary newsman and recipient of countless reporting awards, is, ironically enough, now suffering himself from an assault of bad reporting.

On Saturday, at a memorial service in Harlem for her life-long friend Father Peter Jacobs, Cronkite’s daughter, Nancy, teared up for both Jacobs and for her dad.

Nancy said her 92-year-old dad has been afflicted for some years now from cerebrovascular disease, not Alzheimer’s Disease or any of the various other diseases that have been incorrectly reported. The rumor-mongering, assumptions and reports of his death (which have obviously been greatly exaggerated) have disturbed her family at a time when they are trying to put their energy into caring for the newsman.

In order to set the record straight, Cronkite’s three children, Nancy, Kathy Cronkite and Walter (Chip) Cronkite III sent me an email that read, “In order to dispel false rumors, Walter Cronkite’s family want it known that, sadly, he is very ill and is not expected to recuperate; he is resting at home surrounded by family, friends and a wonderful medical team. We thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”

The statement is a sort of middle-road assessment from his family of the newsman’s health. It follows a report last week on the Web site Tvnewser.com that he was “gravely ill” and that CBS had begun “updating his obituary.”

Then Andy Rooney started telling reporters, “Walter’s going to live — for a while. He’s dressed. He looks good. He’s thinking pretty well.”

What to make of this latest family statement?

Apparently, Cronkite is not at death’s door as the first reports indicate, but clearly he’s not long with us either, as Rooney might wish.

And that’s the way it is.

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Why There Will Never Be Another Singer Like Michael Jackson

There are so many angles to the story about the shocking and tragic news of Michael Jackson’s death.  Several times last night on TV, and again on late night radio, a remark was made that there will not ever be another singer quite like Michael Jackson.  It was said for more than the obvious reasons of honor and respect.  There are some hard solid numbers to support the claim.

Let’s start with the numbers, which are almost beyond comprehension.

Thirty-seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Twenty-nine U.S. Top 10 singles, 13 of them No. 1’s, nine of them platinum sellers, 16 gold.

Thirteen Grammy Awards and 750 million albums sold worldwide.

Seven-hundred-and-fifty-million.

Owning a Michael Jackson record is a bit like having a phone or a stove.

Let’s talk just about “Thriller”: a No. 1 album for 37 weeks, 80 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. At 28 million copies, the second-best-selling album in U.S. history (second only to the Eagles’ “Greatest Hits”). Still the only album to top the charts in two separate years and featuring seven Top 10 singles. It appealed to black and white audiences as no other album ever had. As showcased by MTV — which he was about to show to be far more important to how music was consumed than anyone yet realized — Jackson was probably the most electrifying dancer ever.

And on and on and on.

There can’t ever be anyone like Michael Jackson again.

Nobody can so completely dominate the pop conversation. Our culture is too atomized, too specialized, too niche-oriented for a pop juggernaut like that.

These days, recorded music isn’t just in record stores; it’s easy to find on the Web for free, so sales figures like Jackson’s seem so distant and mythic as to be beamed in from another world.