George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.
He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68.
Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life:
The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.
That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.
Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly
What makes fireworks colorful?
It all thanks to the luminescence of metals. When certain metals are heated (over a flame or in a hot explosion) their electrons jump up to a higher energy state. When those electrons fall back down, they emit specific frequencies of light - and each chemical has a unique emission spectrum.
You can see that the most prominent bands in the spectra above match the firework colors. The colors often burn brighter with the addition of an electron donor like Chlorine (Cl).
But the metals alone wouldn’t look like much. They need to be excited. Black powder (mostly nitrates like KNO3) provides oxygen for the rapid reduction of charcoal (C) to create a lot hot expanding gas - the BOOM. That, in turn, provides the energy for luminescence - the AWWWW.
Aluminium has a special role — it emits a bright white light … and makes sparks!
The 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has just released its cosmically awesome shortlisted entries. Capturing scenes across the solar system, galaxy, and beyond, the images are spectacular reminders that we’re all living on a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” as astronomer Carl Sagan famously put it in “Pale Blue Dot.”
In 1942 a young African American Ph.D. in mathematics, David Blackwell, interviewed for a teaching job at Berkeley. He was hired, but not for many years.
When finally invited to join the statistics faculty in 1952, several of Blackwell’s new colleagues told him there was a backstory to his failed application a decade earlier. It had been decided to offer him a position in mathematics, they said, but the wife of the departmental chair, who sometimes invited the faculty to dinner, insisted she would not have a black person in her house — and the offer was squelched.
Blackwell, who eventually became the first tenured black professor in the University of California system, shares this vivid memory in a 10-hour interview with the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). His life history is part of a recently completed oral-history series on 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators, hired before the advent of affirmative-action policies in the 1970s, who broke barriers and laid the groundwork for those who followed.
[look of the hour]
It may seem quixotic or pointless to try to save the Kentile sign when so much of New York’s social and physical infrastructure is being dismantled. It may seem ridiculous to treasure an advertisement for a product that contained a harmful substance. It may seem presumptuous to try to require a private property owner to preserve a defunct piece of infrastructure for an admittedly ephemeral public good. But lots of people want to try.
"Words have power, letters have power," says Savage. "That’s how you claim something. It’s something we can share that has public meaning. I’m thinking of it as a monument. It’s something that symbolizes all these things. It carries all the weight of the culture. I think it is the de facto logo of Brooklyn."
Felix Baumgartner inspires us to push our limits. #WednesdayWisdom