Keith Moon, Drummer of The Who, Passes Out at 1973 Concert; 19-Year-Old Fan Takes Over

In Novem­ber 1973, Scot Halpin, a 19-year-old kid, scalped tick­ets to The Who con­cert in San Fran­cis­co, Cal­i­for­nia. Lit­tle did he know that he’d wind up play­ing drums for the band that night — that his name would end up etched in the annals of rock ’n’ roll.

The Who came to Cal­i­for­nia with its album Quadrophe­nia top­ping the charts. But despite that, Kei­th Moon, the band’s drum­mer, had a case of the nerves. It was, after all, their first show on Amer­i­can soil in two years. When Moon vom­it­ed before the con­cert, he end­ed up tak­ing some tran­quil­liz­ers to calm down. The drugs worked all too well, not least because the tran­quil­liz­ers actu­al­ly end­ed up being PCP. Dur­ing the show, Moon’s drum­ming became slop­py and slow, writes his biog­ra­ph­er Tony Fletch­er. Then, halfway through “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” he slumped onto his drums. Moon was out cold. (Watch a con­densed ver­sion of the whole affair, from start to fin­ish, above. Or watch anoth­er take below.) As the road­ies tried to bring him back to form, The Who played as a trio. The drum­mer returned, but only briefly and col­lapsed again, this time head­ing off to the hos­pi­tal to get his stom­ach pumped.

Scot Halpin watched the action from near the stage. Years lat­er, he told an NPR inter­view­er, “my friend got real excit­ed when he saw that [Moon was going to pass out again]. And he start­ed telling the secu­ri­ty guy, you know, this guy can help out. And all of a sud­den, out of nowhere comes Bill Gra­ham,” the great con­cert pro­mot­er. Gra­ham asked Halpin straight up, “Can you do it?,” and Halpin shot back “yes.”

When Pete Town­shend asked the crowd, “Can any­body play the drums?” Halpin mount­ed the stage, set­tled into Moon’s drum kit, and began con­fi­dent­ly play­ing the blues jam “Smoke Stacked Light­ing” that soon segued into “Spoon­ful.”  It was a way of test­ing the kid out.  Then came a nine minute ver­sion of “Naked Eye.” By the time it was over, Halpin was phys­i­cal­ly spent.

The show end­ed with Roger Dal­trey, Pete Town­shend, John Entwistle and Scot Halpin tak­ing a bow cen­ter stage. And, to thank him for his efforts, The Who gave him a con­cert jack­et that was prompt­ly stolen.

As a sad foot­note to an oth­er­wise great sto­ry, Halpin died in 2008. The cause, a brain tumor. He was only 54 years old.

The video at the top shows where The Who asks for a drum­mer in the audi­ence and Halpin takes over. The sec­ond video shows Moon pass­ing out before­hand. You can watch the com­plete con­cert on YouTube here.

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The Talking Heads Play CBGB, the New York Club That Shaped Their Sound (1975)

High on the list of his­tor­i­cal peri­ods I regret hav­ing missed, I would place Man­hat­tan’s Low­er East Side in the sev­en­ties. Despite being some­thing less than a shin­ing time for major cities, espe­cial­ly Amer­i­can major cities, and espe­cial­ly New York City, that era’s seem­ing­ly hol­lowed-out down­towns offered cra­dles to many a cul­tur­al move­ment. David Byrne’s band the Talk­ing Heads count as a major one unto them­selves. Gen­er­a­tion X author Dou­glas Cou­p­land mem­o­rably asked only one ques­tion to deter­mine whether one belongs to that par­tic­u­lar cohort: do you like the Talk­ing Heads? In an entire book he wrote about the band’s 1979 album Fear of Music, nov­el­ist Jonatham Lethem remem­bers this of his own enthu­si­asm: “At the peak, in 1980 or 81, my iden­ti­fi­ca­tion was so com­plete that I might have wished to wear the album Fear of Music in place of my head so as to be more clear­ly seen by those around me.”

Talk­ing about the ori­gin of the Talk­ing Heads, we must talk about CBGB, the Bow­ery night­club that host­ed for­ma­tive shows for such punk, new wave, and cul­tur­al­ly prox­i­mate but dif­fi­cult to cat­e­go­rize acts like Tele­vi­sion, the Cramps, Blondie, the Pat­ti Smith Group, and the B‑52s. Byrne and com­pa­ny began play­ing there in the mid-sev­en­ties, and would even­tu­al­ly drop the place’s name in the track “Life Dur­ing Wartime.” (“This ain’t no Mudd Club or CBGB…”) At the top of this post, you’ll see their 1975 per­for­mance of “Psy­cho Killer” at CBGB, along with “Ten­ta­tive Deci­sions” and “With Our Love.” Though CBGB shut down in 2006, its essence lives on in the influ­en­tial music it shaped. “It is the venue that makes the music scene hap­pen just as much as the cre­ativ­i­ty of the musi­cians,” wrote Byrne him­self in CBGB and OMFUG: Thir­ty Years from the Home of Under­ground Rock. “There is con­tin­u­al­ly and for­ev­er a pool of tal­ent, ener­gy, and expres­sion wait­ing to be tapped—it sim­ply needs the right place in which to express itself.”

Relat­ed con­tent:

Live in Rome, 1980: The Talk­ing Heads Con­cert Film You Haven’t Seen

Talk­ing Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” Per­formed on Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Instru­ments

David Byrne: How Archi­tec­ture Helped Music Evolve

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

Rudolf Brazda, Last Man to Wear the Pink Triangle During the Holocaust, Tells His Story

Accord­ing to esti­mates by the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Muse­um, any­where from 5,000 to 15,000 gay men were impris­oned in con­cen­tra­tion camps under the Third Reich, where they were some­times the sub­jects of grue­some exper­i­ments. Pri­or to this mass per­se­cu­tion, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty was crim­i­nal­ized under the so-called Para­graph 175 of the crim­i­nal code, and the Gestapo was charged with “reg­is­ter­ing” gays, who could be sen­tenced to prison terms of up to ten years for violations–in addi­tion to per­ma­nent loss of many civ­il rights–and even worse penal­ties, like cas­tra­tion. Gay men con­vict­ed under these laws had to wear a pink tri­an­gle to iden­ti­fy them­selves. The short doc­u­men­tary above tells the sto­ry of Rudolf Braz­da, the last camp sur­vivor to have worn the pink tri­an­gle. Braz­da died last year at the age of 98.

Braz­da, who lived as an open­ly gay man in the thir­ties, was con­vict­ed under Para­graph 175 in 1937 and served a term of six months. He thought this might be the extent of his harass­ment by the Nazis, but ulti­mate­ly, he was arrest­ed and sent to Buchen­wald in 1942, where he would spend three years. In the video above, Braz­da most­ly tells his own sto­ry, in Ger­man with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles. It’s not the first time he has done so. Brazda’s sto­ry was promi­nent­ly fea­tured in a book by author Jean-Luc Schwab (who also appears above), Itin­er­ary of the Pink Tri­an­gle (Itin­eraire d’un Tri­an­gle rose), which recounts the dehu­man­iz­ing expe­ri­ences of gay men dur­ing the Holo­caust. Schwab’s book and the brief inter­view above pre­serve impor­tant tes­ti­mo­ny from a man who was “very like­ly the last vic­tim and the last wit­ness” of the Nazi per­se­cu­tion of homo­sex­u­al men in the 30s and 40s. Braz­da’s will­ing­ness to tell his sto­ry has been invalu­able to schol­ars and activists seek­ing to doc­u­ment this lit­tle-known (and often denied) his­to­ry.

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.

What Do Satellites Have in Common with Falling Cats? Attitude Control

Have you ever won­dered how the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope and oth­er satel­lites can be point­ed in any direc­tion at the will of sci­en­tists on the ground? Giv­en the ener­gy con­straints for satel­lites designed to stay in space for years, the tech­ni­cal chal­lenges are immense.

In this video from the “Smarter Every Day” YouTube series we learn a lit­tle about two clever meth­ods sci­en­tists use to con­trol the atti­tude, or ori­en­ta­tion, of satel­lites with very lit­tle ener­gy. The first method exploits the pow­er of the Earth­’s mag­net­ic field by using elec­tric cur­rent to selec­tive­ly acti­vate elec­tro­mag­nets and nudge the satel­lite in a desired direc­tion, rather like the nee­dle of a com­pass. The sec­ond and, in some ways, more fas­ci­nat­ing method takes its inspi­ra­tion from the amaz­ing­ly agile cat. It has long been known that cats can fall from any ini­tial ori­en­ta­tion and almost always land on their feet. They can reori­ent them­selves 180 degrees with­out vio­lat­ing the con­ser­va­tion of angu­lar momen­tum. They do it by adjust­ing their shape and thus rear­rang­ing the mass, and chang­ing the moment of iner­tia, with­in their bod­ies. Sci­en­tists employ a sim­i­lar tac­tic using mov­ing parts with­in satel­lites.

The host of the “Smarter Every Day” videos goes only by the name of “Des­tin,” and is report­ed­ly a mis­sile engi­neer at the U.S. Army’s Red­stone Arse­nal, near Huntsville Alaba­ma. Some view­ers will, like us, find the tone and sen­si­bil­i­ty of this video juve­nile and annoy­ing, with its overuse of the words “cool” and “awe­some” and with the gra­tu­itous cat-drop­ping scenes (note to future YouTube auteurs: con­sid­er using stock footage) but the sci­ence itself is, with­out a doubt, fas­ci­nat­ing.

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, Says Creationism is Bad for Kids and America’s Future

Bill Nye will tell you that he’s a man on a mis­sion. He’s out there try­ing to “help fos­ter a sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly lit­er­ate soci­ety, to help peo­ple every­where under­stand and appre­ci­ate the sci­ence that makes our world work.” From 1993 to 1998, Nye host­ed Bill Nye the Sci­ence Guya Disney/PBS chil­dren’s sci­ence show that won 18 Emmys along the way. A grad­u­ate of Cor­nell and a stu­dent of Carl Sagan, Nye has also pre­sent­ed shows on the Sci­ence Chan­nel, the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel and oth­er media out­lets.

If you’re famil­iar with Bill Nye, you’ll know that he’s not exact­ly an in-your-face kind of sci­en­tist. He’s no Richard Dawkins. Nye is mild-man­nered, affa­ble and wears a bow tie. But, like Dawkins, he’ll tell you that if you deny evo­lu­tion, you’re not liv­ing in the world of basic facts. And if you teach cre­ation­ism to kids, you’re not prepar­ing them to com­pete in a world where sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­cy means every­thing. That bodes ill for your kids in par­tic­u­lar, and for Amer­i­ca’s future more gen­er­al­ly.

Now you might be inclined to say that Amer­i­ca has always had cre­ation­ists, and that did­n’t stop the coun­try from becom­ing an eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary super­pow­er. Per­haps that’s true. But you need to recall this. Amer­i­ca reached its zenith when every oth­er pow­er had blown them­selves to smithereens. We were the only game in town. And it almost did­n’t mat­ter what we thought, or how much we thought. We just need­ed to show up to work. Nowa­days, we don’t have that lux­u­ry. We face stiff com­pe­ti­tion from ambi­tious nations that take sci­ence and edu­ca­tion seri­ous­ly. A coun­try that scoffs at sci­en­tif­ic rea­son­ing, that dis­miss­es it all as “elit­ist,”  has only one way to go, and that’s down. God help us.

You can find more clips from Nye’s talk here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Sagan Presents Six Lec­tures on Earth, Mars & Our Solar Sys­tem … For Kids (1977)

Grow­ing Up in the Uni­verse: Richard Dawkins Presents Cap­ti­vat­ing Sci­ence Lec­tures for Kids (1991)

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Remembering Neil Armstrong, the First Man on the Moon, with Historic Footage and a BBC Bio Film

Sev­er­al weeks ago, we watched NASA sci­en­tists explode with applause when they land­ed their rugged rover, Curios­i­ty, on Mars. Imag­ine how an ear­li­er gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists must have felt when, on July 20, 1969, Neil Arm­strong took his first steps on the moon and then uttered his immor­tal words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” You can get goose­bumps think­ing about it.

Today, Amer­i­ca lost a great one. Neil Arm­strong has died at 82, after under­go­ing heart-bypass surgery ear­li­er this month. Above, we bring you leg­endary footage from the Apol­lo 11 Mis­sion. And here you can view high res­o­lu­tion images from that his­toric space flight. Below, we present an hour-long BBC doc­u­men­tary on the life and times of the pio­neer­ing astro­naut.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

“First Orbit”: Cel­e­brat­ing 50th Anniver­sary of Yuri Gagaran’s Space Flight

Dark Side of the Moon: A Mock­u­men­tary on Stan­ley Kubrick and the Moon Land­ing Hoax

125 Great Sci­ence Videos: From Astron­o­my to Physics & Psy­chol­o­gy

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When Asteroids Attack! Neil deGrasse Tyson and NASA Explain How To Stop an Armageddon

If pop cul­ture has taught us non-sci­en­tists any­thing about aster­oids, it’s that we should blow them up. From clas­sic video game Aster­oids to the Michael Bay dis­as­ter clas­sic Armaged­don, aster­oids are either ran­dom bits of float­ing debris out to destroy us, or mas­sive malig­nant space tumors hurtling our way to destroy us, which we’re told is how the dinosaurs died out. But, says super­star physi­cist Neil deGrasse Tyson—in Vice’s short video (above) “Blow­ing Up Aster­oids with NASA and Neil deGrasse Tyson”—“We’re clever enough that we nev­er have to go extinct by an aster­oid. We have more choic­es avail­able to us than Tyran­nosaurus Rex did.” Choic­es like turn­ing an aster­oid into space dust? Prob­a­bly not. Turns out, Armaged­don wasn’t entire­ly sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accu­rate. In fact, NASA shows Michael Bay’s movie to its trainees to see how many sci­en­tif­ic absur­di­ties they can find. The record, as of 2007, was at 168.

So what to do! Well, it turns out that the chances of an aster­oid col­lid­ing with the earth are slim, but still a bit too close for com­fort. As Tyson explains above, there is, in fact, an aster­oid head­ed our way, called Apophis, in 2029. If Apophis goes through a region called “the key­hole,” it will impact the earth sev­en years lat­er. The prob­a­bil­i­ty of this occur­ring as of 2009 is 1 in 250,000. Yikes. Astro­naut Mike Gern­hardt, a pri­ma­ry inves­ti­ga­tor at NEEMO (NASA Extreme Envi­ron­ment Mis­sion Oper­a­tions) is on the case. His team uses under­wa­ter sim­u­la­tions in Key Largo, Flori­da to recre­ate an aster­oid-like envi­ron­ment and explore it, col­lect sam­ples, etc. in what NASA calls an “Ana­log Mis­sion.” Just how any of this might pre­vent an aster­oid from destroy­ing the plan­et escapes me, to be hon­est (and the “blow­ing up” part of the video’s title doesn’t ever get an expla­na­tion). But the NEEMO project is still pret­ty cool, as you can wit­ness in an inter­view with NEEMO Mis­sion Man­ag­er Bill Todd below.

The Vice video is part of their Moth­er­board TV series, which informs us on its site that NEEMO, like every­thing cool these days, is like­ly to be defund­ed. Let’s hope they can fig­ure out how save us from aster­oid Armaged­don before the mon­ey runs out.

via The Atlantic

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.

How to Remove Egg Yolks with a Plastic Bottle, and More Strange Culinary Tips

We’ve told you how to open wine bot­tles with your shoe.

And how to peel a head of gar­lic in less than 10 sec­onds.

Now, by way of Asia, comes our lat­est DIY tip — an easy way to extract egg yolks lick­ety-split.

via Kot­tke

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