Monday, 31 December 2012

Follow Ondar on Twitter!

Hashtag GroovinTuvan !

Live Stream of the Parade Preparations

You can watch a live stream of ONDAR & the Eagles of Tuva as they prepare for the Tournament of Roses Parade on January, 2013, at 7AM PST: 
They will be entry #47 in the Rose Parase.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Kongar-ol Ondar to Ride In Rose Bowl Parade

On January 1, 1993, three Tuvan horsemen and musicians rode down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, as part of the Rose Parade. Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, and Anatoly Kuular were accompanied by their friend and translator Rada Chakar at a time when Tuvan culture was almost completely unknown in North America, outside of a few persistent fanatics.

Since that time, Tuvan culture has become part of western pop culture, appearing everywhere from Hollywood movies (Geronimo), late night TV talk shows (David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Chevy Chase) and TV situation comedies (Big Bang Theory).  Tuvan musicians have toured the world countless times and have recorded with musicians too numerous to mention, notably including Bela Fleck and the Flecktones as well as Frank Zappa, after meeting him on their trip to Pasadena for the Rose Parade.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of that epic journey from Tuva to California, the Rose Parade organization has invited Kongar-ol Ondar to ride in the Parade this January 1, with two wrestlers accompanying him on foot.

If you can't watch the parade in person, you can always try to catch it on TV!

You can help support Ondar's visit (which is funded entirely through personal donations) by making a donation yourself!

Ondar has established a relationship with Creative Visions Foundation that allows him to accept charitable donations to support his artistic endeavors in the USA.  Creative Visions Foundation is a publicly supported 501(c)3, which supports Creative Activists who use the power of media and the arts to affect positive change in the world.  All donations are tax deductible.

Kongar-ool Ondar's Facebook Page

You can get all the latest news about Ondar's current activities on Facebook at

Check out the cool pics of Ondar at the monument to the Center of Asia in Kyzyl!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Feynman's Flowers

The scientific research project "Feynman's Flowers" is an open invitation to the general public to help advance the state of knowledge in the world, using only your ordinary average computer and a very small amount of your time.

The researchers behind this project have gathered many images of individual molecules using an instrument called a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM).  The public is invited to help out by measuring the relative position of the molecule in one or more of the images, and by gathering this information over very many images the researchers will be able to gain knowledge about the electronic and magnetic properties of the molecule.

The project is named partly in honor of Feynman because of his inspirational talk "There's Plenty Of Room At The Bottom" on the topic of the universe at an extremely small scale, and partly for the characteristic flower shape of the molecules as seen in the STM images examined in this project.

And of course, if you have been following Friends of Tuva online for long enough and if you have a particularly good memory, you will recall that the Friends of Tuva website was originally hosted by the STM group at the University of Manitoba  You can't escape the STM!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Roko Belic on "Happy"

One half of the producer/director team behind Genghis Blues, Roko Belic talks to Tuva Online about his latest film, "Happy".

Friday, 16 November 2012

Tuvan Railway Line Government Funding Cut

As reported by the Railway Gazette:

RUSSIA: The government removed the 411 km Kuragino - Kyzyl railway from its list of state investment projects on November 14. The planned line in the Tuva republic is now to be funded by Eniseiskaya Industrial Corp, which owns coal mines at Kyzyl
The line was originally to be built as a public-private partnership, to be ready in 2014.

The Manhattan Projects, Volume 1

‘THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL. 1’ (Image Comics, $14.99), written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra, imagines that the scientists working on the atomic bomb were up to more — like traveling to other dimensions, meeting aliens and encountering doppelgängers. These titans of science (Feynman, Einstein and Oppenheimer) take the craziness in stride. It is also worth checking out Mr. Hickman’s work for Marvel Entertainment: ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and ‘FANTASTIC FOUR.’

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Monty" Comic Sneaks Richard Feynman In

The November 13, 2012, "Monty" comic strip features a small hand-tinted photo of Richard Feynman.

Why?   We'll never know.  Perhaps it's a reference to "The Amateur Scientist" chapter in "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!", but perhaps not.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Tuva State University to offer Tuvan Langauge and Culture International Study Program

The Tuva State University is developing an international studies program and would like to get the word out about their yearly study program of Tuvan Language and Culture as well as their partnership program of Tuvan Music Research.  They are also developing a 2-week summer program for foreigners.

For more details, please see the Tuva State University web site.

Friday, 26 October 2012

NPR Book Club Discusses "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"

The NPR Science Friday Book Club meets this week to talk about their fall pick: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" : Adventures of a Curious Character. Physicist Lawrence Krauss joins the club to discuss Feynman's contributions to physics and his unconventional life.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Feynman TV Movie Begins Production

As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and many other sources, the BBC and the Discovery Science Channel are collaborating to produce a docudrama about the Rogers Commission's investigation of the Challenger space shuttle disaster.  Feynman will be played by William Hurt.  More details are available at Televisual but the broadcast is forecast for 2013.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

QED Opens In Chicago

QED, the Peter Parnell play chronicling a few hours late in the life of Richard Feynman,  opens in Chicago, Wednesday, October 24 at Collaboraction Theatre.

The role of Feynman was originated by Alan Alda in Los Angeles and New York.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Apple Disappoints Us With Their Anti-Science Ad

Apple once enjoyed an image of ultracoolness, of not doing things the way the other guy did them, and of honoring the values of science.   They even invoked the image of Richard Feynman in their "Think Different" campaign,:

Sadly, it appears that those days are long gone, as evidenced by the recent ad from Apple with it's anti-science overtones implicit in the tagline "Well, I guess the laws of physics are more like... general guidelines".

Yes, it's just an ad, and yes, the people making the advertising have nothing to do with the people designing the product, but it's the sentiment that rankles.  It smacks of disrespect, and it rubs those of us at the wrong way.  It would be different if it were funny --- we're big fans of funny.  But it's not funny, it's simple, and I mean that in an unflattering way - "the device is thinner with more display area" is hardly a conundrum that will baffle anyone.

Ultimately, it comes down to an aphorism once given to me; "if you don't like the advertisement, you're not the target audience".   So it appears while that Apple once went out of their way to woo me (and presumably you, too, if you're one of the five readers of this blog :-) they are no longer doing so, and they are now going out of their way to drive us away.

Friday, 19 October 2012

"Feynman Diagrams" Describing Hexaflexagons

In honor of Martin Gardner's birth day, math evangelist Vi Hart shares a video about hexaflexagons in which the Flexagon Committee creates Feynman Diagrams that describe the state machine of the hexaflexagon.   No, not that kind of Feynman Diagram!  Feynman was a member of the Flexagon Committee long before he was well-known.

Sit back and enjoy her video!

The following is quoted from Vi Hart's Youtube channel:
Historical Note: This video is based on a true story. Arthur H. Stone invented the Hexaflexagon and started a flexagon committee with his friends Tuckerman, Feynman, and Tukey (who all later became well-known in their respective fields). Tuckerman invented the Tuckerman Traverse, and Feynman invented Feynman Diagrams (not to be confused with Feynman Diagrams in physics, which is probably why flexagon diagrams are usually not called Feynman Diagrams anymore). The details of their interactions and dialogue, however, are my own invention.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ondar Interview in Tuva Online!

Tuva Online has published a great interview with Kongar-ol Ondar - check it out!

Blog Creation!

We've created this blog to make it easy for interested people to subscribe and receive irregular postings when news of interest to Feynman fans or Tuva fans is brought to our attention.