Monthly Archives: April 2014

A fascinating look at the golden era of alt weeklies

Belt Magazine’s Laura Putre recalls her early journalism years writing for a Cleveland alt weekly in the 80s and documents the rise of the liberal, sometimes radical, alt weeklies that sprung up in conservative cities that badly needed them. It’s interesting to see the philosophical approach of different alt weekly editors; some thought opinionated columns were a waste of time and focused on hard-hitting journalism while others thought the columns were what gave them a truly alternative voice that distinguished them from their daily counterparts:

More than Detroit, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh, Republican-dominated Cincinnati was hurting for a liberal publication. “The Enquirer was conservative and the Post was sort of middle of the road—it wasn’t anywhere near being liberal,” says [CityBeat editor John Fox]. Fox and [CityBeat investor Tom Schiff] made a good team because Schiff, the money man, wasn’t interested in meddling in the paper’s political coverage. That was Fox’s department.

“I know that first year, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and had very few ads,” says Fox. “But we got the critical mass going—most of the arts organizations and music clubs backed us right away. Then the restaurants came along as well. It always takes a while for the more established people—the car dealers and banks and retail stores to come around—because this is a hippie newspaper and the word ‘fuck’ is in there so it’s like giving money to devil worshippers.” A right-to-life group and an anti-gay marriage group called Citizens for Community values “used to hound us all the time,” Fox remembers.

How difficult would it be to fight a battle in space? An aerospace engineer explains

Aerospace engineering PhD candidate Joseph Shoer considers the physics of fighting in space, from the maneuverability of the aircraft to the kinds of weapons that would be used:

There are only a few ways to maneuver the attitude of a spacecraft around – to point it in a new direction. The fast ways to do that are to fire an off-center thruster or to tilt a gyroscope around to generate a torque. Attitude maneuvers would be critical to point the main engine of a space fighter to set up for a burn, or to point the weapons systems at an enemy. Either way, concealing the attitude maneuvers of the space fighter would be important to gain a tactical advantage. So I think gyroscopes (“CMGs,” in the spacecraft lingo) would be a better way to go – they could invisibly live entirely within the space fighter hull, and wouldn’t need to be mounted on any long booms (which would increase the radar, visible, and physical cross-section of the fighter) to get the most torque on the craft. With some big CMGs, a spacecraft could flip end-for-end in a matter of seconds or less. If you come upon a starfighter with some big, spherical bulbs near the midsection, they are probably whopping big CMGs and the thing will be able to point its guns at you wherever you go. To mitigate some of the directionality of things like weapons fire and thruster burns, space fighters would probably have weapons and engines mounted at various points around their hull; but a culture interested in efficiently mass-producing space warships would probably be concerned about manufacturing so many precision parts for a relatively fragile vessel, and the craft would likely only have one main engine rather than, say, four equal tetrahedral engines.